Pray: To open your time together.
Read: Hebrews 11: 13-16
Consider: Some thoughts for your group
Why do we love stories so much? From the time we are small children our imaginations are ignited by stories. The more fantastic the better. There is a unique characteristic of humans that never grows tired of wonderous tales of faraway places. We live in a time of an explosion of stories being shared throughout humanity. Netflix, Amazon, Instagram, Tik Tok… more and more of our social engagement resides in the sharing of stories between people all over the world. We never get tired of a good story.
While each story is unique, the themes are consistent: a character has lost something special and goes on a quest to retrieve it, having to journey through trials and setbacks to find resolution. The Wizard of Oz is a great example of this theme. Our main character, Dorothy, has been kidnapped by a tornado and deposited in a foreign and magical land. Dorothy’s quest to return the people and place that she loves is encapsulated in her magical mantra: “There is no place like home.”
Scripture teaches us that Dorothy’s longing is our longing too. We all are on a quest to return to that place where we now can only dream. The city of God where we were created to reside for eternity. Today we can only catch small glimpses of this divine homeland through experiences of beauty, love, and worship, but God’s promise is that the kingdom of God has entered our foreign land, and one day heaven and earth will be reunited. “Let it be on earth as it is in heaven” is what Jesus proclaims in the Lord’s prayer.
Until that great re-uniting, we wait as foreigners exiled in a place not our home, but still a place God has positioned us. And while we reside here, we are to be the conduits of love, grace, and renewal that God intends to live on in eternity. Like Dorothy, we continually need to remind ourselves that there is no place like our heavenly home, while also earnestly praying that this land would be more like heaven because we, God’s people, are present in it.
- Have you ever considered the exile theme in the bible? Why do God’s people so often exist as “foreigners” here on earth?
- There is an old Christians phrase that says Jesus-followers are to be “in this world, but not of it”. How can we exist as exiles here on earth while advancing heavenly ways of living?
- Every people group on earth has customs, languages, and icons that represent and identify them. What are some of the characteristics of heavenly citizens? How do those characteristics align with your life right now?
This Sunday, Pastor Evan said that our modern existence more closely resembles Babylon than Israel. Power, money, comfort, and pleasure are literally at our fingertips twenty-four hours a day. Could it be that God has exiled us from our modern times because He loves us and intends to form us into something very different?
Spend some time praying for one another. Pray for the presence of the Holy Spirit to comfort and inspire us to live as holy people in our modern context. Pray for faith to carry us when we feel overwhelmed by life.