Engaged with the city
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
Jeremiah doesn’t just want his readers to seek the peace and prosperity of the people around them. He also wants them to consider the city.
Cities are more than collections of individuals. They involve structures and systems that impact generations. They grow and change, seeming to have a life of their own. Ripple effects from cities can be felt throughout entire regions and entire histories.
Jeremiah’s encouraged his readers to settle down in Babylon and develop roots in this city. They weren’t to create ghettos and secret enclaves. They weren’t to live lives isolated from the city. No, they were challenged by Jeremiah to engage the systems and structures of the city. You can’t seek the peace and prosperity of the city when you’re hiding from it.
Engaging with our city or our local community can take many different shapes and forms. We can get involved in local politics and government. We can sit on PTA Boards and serve in non-profit organizations. We can develop businesses or parks or playgrounds. We can fight injustices, address social needs, or get involved in a good cause.
Each and every one of us has an opportunity to get involved in our “city.” Even though we don’t live in densely-populated, urban areas, we live in the midst of systems and structures that extend beyond individuals.
How are you currently engaged with your city? Where are you hiding and holding back? Where might God be inviting you to engage in new ways?