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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Exile

"I am lonely as a pelican in the wilderness, as an owl in the ruins, as a sparrow alone on a rooftop: I do not sleep." Ps 101:6-8

Being in exile is never easy or simple. Ask anyone who has been locked into a lifeless marriage, or has been isolated and made a scapegoat in their own family. The pain of being blamed for matters one did not cause and cannot control can be overwhelming.

The Pslamist offers us difficult but helpful images for "exiles." Pelicans do not belong in the wilderness. They cannot eat properly or live as they should. Neither are sparrows supposed to live alone. They fly in noisy flocks and in the United States we often seem sitting together on trees or under eaves of houses.

In trying to help us understand the awful conditions of exile, the psalmist pushes us to accept our fate and find a way to live faithfully within it. His pleading to God for help is a lesson for all. While none of us likes to be away from "home", sometimes it is necessary to appreciate life as God intends it, and being in exile reminds us that no matter where we find ourselves, God is with us.

Learning to pray in exile is essential for believers. Though we are not asked or commanded to be comfortable in exile, we must maintain our faith and pray from the center of our loneliness. Jesus' passion and death testify to this.

Today, reach our for someone who seems lost.

How do you manage those times when life is upside down and inside out?

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