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Seek the Peace of the Community
Rev. Thurman Williams
Pastor, New Song Community Church

Jeremiah 29:7 "Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper."

The context of the above verse is a letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent to the people of God when they were in exile in Babylon. They were concerned with understanding what their posture should be in the community they were in. The Babylonians wanted them to assimilate, leaving their culture at the door and just blending in with everyone else. The false prophets of Judah, on the other hand, advised them to withdraw from the culture and basically look out for themselves. But God's prophet, Jeremiah, received different advice from the Lord: Don t seek the well-being of yourself individually, and neither seek just the well-being of your people; instead, seek the peace of the whole city. This was a radical statement the verse literally says in their peace is your peace.

What does this have to do with us? We are faced with similar options in the midst of our community (and the We I m speaking of is the Church, the people of God). We can just assimilate and not live any differently than anyone else around us, or we can take the opposite extreme and withdraw to our own respective groups (according to gender, race, background, etc.), only relating to each other on a surface level. Or we can follow God's alternative and seek the peace of the whole community. The Hebrew word for peace is shalom, a rich word that signifies wholeness in every area of life (spiritual, physical, emotional, economic, etc.). What does that mean practically? It means we bring every area of our lives and our ministries under the Lordship of Christ, because we realize it's all his anyway. It means we work for the well-being of the whole community, not just for ourselves individually or for our people group. It means we work for the glory of God, and not for our own or anyone else's. And it means we find our strength in Christ alone, because nothing else can sustain us for such a great task. May 2005 be a year where God brings more of the peace of the City of God into the community of Sandtown, for
his glory.

February 2005



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