By the rivers of Babylon,
there we sat,
sat and wept,
as we thought of Zion.
There on the poplars
we hung up our lyres,
for our captors asked us there for songs,
our tormentors, for amusement,
‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion.’
How can we sing a song of the Lord
on alien soil?
I think the church is living in exile again. Unlike the people of Israel we seem to be on exile by choice. The world around us continues to change. People’s expectations and ways of life seem to be changing the way they look at the needs of the soul.
We have stuck to our ways of being church: heady, clubby, and self-centered. Our emphasis for too long has been on our survival, our protection, and our brand. I think for too long we have not helped people learn to live the song instead we have talked about it, placed it on posters, and counted the number of people interested in it.
Now we know that our world needs the song more than ever!
Let us sing our our song, the great Alleluia of old, let us sing it loud, let us teach it to those who need it most. Most of all may our singing drive us to be about God’s transforming work in the world.