Saturday, March 25, 2017

Reflection for Fourth Sunday of Lent

Fourth Sunday of Lent

by Nathan Sell

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. (Jeremiah 29:4-5, NRSV)

I’ve lived in eight places in the last seventeen years. This is nothing unique—many millennials are constantly on the move. We go from this place to that, we leave home and go off to school and then we go onto another school. We take this job and leave it for that job. And on and on and on. To be honest, as much as I yearn for home, one gets used to this moving from place to place.

Exile becomes the norm, rather than the exception. There’s a line that the Avett Brothers sing that I’ve been thinking about related to this. “One foot in and one foot back, well it don’t pay to live like that.” It don’t pay to live like that. The prophet Jeremiah offers a different vision. Even if you are not home, you are to treat where you are as such. You are to build a life. You are to invest where you are. You are to plant gardens. Wendell Berry puts it this way: “no further, this is the place.” What if we were called to stay put? Maybe God is calling us to churn up some soil and plant some seeds and stick around awhile. Who knows what beautiful thing might grow? We won’t know unless we stay and see.

Prayer: Holy God, help us to grow where we are planted. Help us to invest in the places and relationships where we are, rather than always looking towards what's next. Help us to be good stewards of those relationships. Amen

Rev. Nathan Sell is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA). He is the chaplain of an all boy's upper school in Maryland, where he lives with his wife, Caroline, and dog, Burley. Nate is most at home in the world when he is backpacking, canoeing, or failing at fly-fishing. He writes regularly for the EcoTheo Review ( 

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