Sermon April 21, 2013: Seek the peace of the city and pray for it

Posted in Sermons
[Dr. Eldin Villafañe]
  • Presenter: Dr. Eldin Villafañe
  • Date: April 21, 2013
  • Location: Congregación León de Judá, Boston MA

In the New Testament there are two words that refer to the concept of time, one is chronos and the other is cairos.

Chronos is just regular generic time and cairos is specific time, the time of God and sincerely I do believe that this is the Cairos that, the precise time of God for all of us. No one wants to participate in this kind of tragedies but in moments in history when such things occurred that we have touched on a passage of Scripture that has been the model of my life. And you know the truth is that next week as a matter of fact in the city of Buffalo I'm going to preach precisely on this passage. And you know this is the Word that I carry wherever I go.

The model of CUME in which I have been deeply involved is Jeremiah 29:7: "Seek the peace of the city that I have sent you to and pray for it because in it's peace, you will also find your own peace." Without taking too much time the word peace that we translate in hebrew is shalom, in the New Testament is Irene and it is conforming to that same word of shalom, they have the same foundation. It's a rich word that signifies well being, prosperity, integrity, health, salvation, liberation, deliverance.

And so the truth is that when the Bible calls us to do this, to pray there are two main things that are involved in this shalom concept. In this passage it says: "Seek and procure the peace of the city and pray for it." To seek the peace means to make every effort to enable that peace to take place in that city in every aspect of life, not just referring to the spirit or the soul but also the body, the totality of life. And as I tell my students all the time: you know I have never seen a soul kind of just floating around, it needs you know just comfort and clouding and covering, and warm, and love and food, it's a complete encompassing well being.

And this is why each of us, every one of us has something to do in order to enable that peace, that shalom of the city because not all of us are preachers, and some of us don't have the ease to share the gospel in an easy way with others but you can show the love of God with a piece of bread for example, with water, with clothing, with just warm; there are different ways of expressing the love of God and if you can't do that you can at least pray.

The background of this passage is very interesting. You know Jeremiah is speaking to people that are in a state of slavery and Babylon, you know Babylon is Boston for some of us. They have been transported to that place and the word in hebrew is galah. That sense of transportation has a connotation of exile but it also has a connotation of being an ambassador, a representative.

Sam said this morning: you know many of us have come as exiles, we have come as exiled from our place of origin and for some reason here we are. You know now we are not just exiles, we are truly ambassadors and we are called to procure the peace of the city as ambassadors. You know the people that heard this said: Jeremiah is crazy. To seek the peace of Babylon, this evil empire, so destructive, so violent? well maybe Boston isn't as bad as Babylon.

You know many times we see the people out there as sinners, as evil but God calls us to have compassion on those people, to reach out as ambassadors to those ones that are lost; the least that we can do is pray and in that verse it says: "Because in it's peace you also will find your own peace." Did you hear that well? that's interesting, that's profound. That in the measure that we seek the peace of the city, it's well being, it's prosperity, all the resources and greatness and goodness of God on their behalf God will return that to us as well, we will receive some of that as well.

You know it's interesting that God has a slight sense of humor we see in this passage. They should seek the peace at least if nothing else, they should do it. And He tells them: if you are not going to do it out of a selfless sense of duty at least do it for your own good, for your own benefit. You know at this point in our life we know better than just, you know we know that we should seek that peace of the city because it's the Will of God, it is this challenge to our lives to seek the peace, the love and the grace of God manifesting itself through our lives. It can have a phenomenal impact on those people now.

This is the cairos moment of God. Ask yourselves in your job, in your school wherever you find yourself daily: how can I be a source of shalom to my people, to my city, to my community? We have a great challenge in front of us; may God help us to complete it.

And I finish with a Salm just as some very well known verses, I'm gonna read it first the first seven verses, Salm 91, well known Salm: "He who dwells in the shelter of the most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."

"I will say of the Lord: He is my refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I trust."

"He will save you from the fouler's snare and from the deadly pestilence."

"He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

"You will not fear the terror of night nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plaid that destroys in mid day."

"A thousand may fall at your side and then thousand at your right hand but it will not come near you." God bless you, amen, amen. Praise the Lord, thank you Doctor Villafañe. Praise God, praise God, amen, amen.

I'm gonna ask Brian Morelly to come forward and just leave us in a word of prayer. Praise God I thank the Lord because I know His Spirit is here in this community. These are pregnant times and God wants to do great things through His people, He needs people that are on fire for Him and that will be channels of His Word and His Grace and His love into the city. The enemy will have to flee in the feet, that is the Word and the intention of God as He declares His Word so, we will pray for a moment.

Pastor: Please stand let's lift our hands to the Lord in unity. Lord You have called us to be the salt of the Earth. You have called us to be peacemakers and Lord we offer You our hands, we offer You our words, all that we have to be instruments of Your peace, of Your peace in this broken city. Lord shine Your love and Your life through us; Lord that as we give ourselves even as Lord Jesus gave Himself let Your light and Your love be known. Lord let the peace that Jesus won for us in the cross be always in our hearts, in our minds and be given through His Word to us as we lay ourselves down to be used by Your Will following the example of our Lord.

Lord we thank you and we praise you for all that you have done for us. Use us as we go out, we pray for the Glory of Your Name and the life of the world, and Jesus in Your Holy Name, amen and amen.

May the bless of God be a blessing onto us today and as we leave this place may His peace be with us and abounding us through us.

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