This Saturday people from across Santa Rosa will gather to do improvement projects that will save the city money and make our neighborhoods a better place to live. I’ll be there and I’m looking forward to it.
I have plenty of jobs in my own life that need to get done. It’s a list that never ends. Why take time to do projects for a city when I don’t have time to do my own projects? The simple answer is that God calls us to serve and love the world he loves.
One biblical expression of this occurs after King Nebuchadnezzar forced God’s people from Jerusalem to Babylon. Uprooted from their home, and living among people who were different, the temptation to cocoon was great.
Jeremiah saw this exile, and spoke powerful words of challenge and hope to the people he loved. And in a letter to his people living in exile he wrote these words:
“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.” Jeremiah 29:7.
Peace in Hebrew is shalom and shalom means blessing. It’s a word used as greeting, but it’s more than a greeting. It’s a word that expressed God’s intent for harmonious relationships among people, God and creation. To “seek the peace of a city” is an act of blessing that involves an investment of time, effort, prayer and love. And it’s a practical expression of love for one’s neighbor and the God who loves the world.
I’ve got plenty of chores and jobs I need to get done, but this Saturday I’m putting those aside to join with others for a city-wide Spring Clean, and if you’re living in or around Santa Rosa, then I hope to see you there.