Go Texan Day!
“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
Jeremiah 29:7
It is “Go Texan Day” here in the greater Houston area! It is the day when we kick off the Houston Rodeo each year. It is the day when all those who want to be cowboys and cowgirls get to dress up in their finest Western duds and pretend for a day that they know how to ride a horse!
That is the fifth-generation Texan in me talking now. (Yes, I do know how to Western ride, but it has been a long time.) Yet, with the Rodeo having to cut short its activities two years ago and skip last year entirely, it is time to let loose and go all-in with “Go Texan” attire today, whatever that may look like coming from your respective closets!
When I was sent to Tennessee to attend seminary, it was the first time this old girl lived outside of the great state of Texas, and it was a bit of culture shock. The weather was a bit too cold for this southeast Texas gal. Barbequed beef was hard to find. Elsewhere, the animal of choice for BBQ is pigs, but without the casing around the meat! Horrors!
For the first time in my life, this move helped me get in touch with my “inner exile,” that muted but nagging sense each one of us has that “I am not home,” “This place is not my real home.” Things are not right. And we act out, not fully recognizing that our sense of loss is because things are not the way we think they are supposed to be; we are not living in the kingdom we are supposed to be living.
Things were not the way they were supposed to be for the Judean Jews of the 6th century B.C. The beautiful Temple of Solomon had been destroyed. Many of the Jews had been driven out of the land and were forced to live in exile in Babylonia. They were miserable and surrounded by heathens!
Yet, God has not abandoned them. (Yet is my favorite three-lettered word in the Bible.) God has charged them to flourish and to set down roots in the land of their exile, to contribute to the flourishing of the community where they now live, and to “seek the welfare of the city.”
So, whether you’re a fifth-generation Texan like me, or you just moved to the Houston area a few years ago, or you may not even live in the greater Houston area, what does it look like to “seek the welfare of the city” for you? How can we, exiled from our “true home” and still help our neighbors and community prosper?
The Rev. Sharron L. Cox
Associate for Outreach, Pastoral Care and Women's Ministries
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