Bloom where you are planted. Handstitched and framed in blue, these words adorned the wall of my grandmother’s kitchen. My mother repeated them to me during my first semester away at college, when I got my first job a thousand miles from home, and many times since. That old blue frame now graces the wall of my own home. It has accompanied me from city to city, state to state, and across the Atlantic when I lived and worked overseas.
The Israelites, however, did not choose to leave home for a new adventure. Instead, the Babylonians destroyed their homeland and carried the leading citizens to Babylon to serve as slaves. And God engineered this exile. They find themselves in foreign territory, and now God tells them to settle in. This will not be a temporary situation; they are in Babylon for the long haul. Amidst the chaos and homesickness, God desires a good life for the chosen people. God wants them to flourish. So God speaks the same words to the Israelites that God spoke to me through needlepoint: Bloom where you are planted.
For the Israelites, blooming means making themselves at home in a foreign and uncomfortable place. It means putting down roots, building houses, establishing families, and helping to build their community. God intends that Israel not only survive exile but thrive in the midst of it.
The fulfillment of God’s promise sometimes requires discomfort on our part. Whether it involves geography or not, God often plants us in foreign circumstances that leave us longing for the security of the way things used to be. When life is not ideal, when we feel exiled, when we are away from home or in a metaphorical new place, God still wants a good life for us. God wants us to flourish and bloom.

In what places of discomfort and unfamiliarity has God placed you? How could you follow God’s call to make yourself at home under these conditions?

Rece las Escrituras usando Leccionario en Audio
Leer Luke 17:11-19

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Leccionario Semanal
October 3–9, 2016
Resumen de la Escritura

One might have expected Jeremiah to advise the exiles to maintain their independence and be ready to return to Judah. Instead, he tells them to settle in, to build and plant, to seek the welfare of Babylon, even to pray for its prosperity. The judging purposes of God call for extended exile and not impa- tient rebellion. In the story of the ten lepers in Luke, one returns to praise and thank Jesus for giving him health. Only then do we learn that he is a Samaritan. The ultimate outsider becomes the model of faith. Second Timothy bears witness to the awe- some character of God that always honors divine commitments, thereby appearing to humans full of surprises. For the psalmist, God merits the worship of all the earth.

Preguntas para la reflexión

• Read Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7. When have you found yourself in exile? How did you cope with the situation? What reminded you that God had not abandoned you?
• Read Psalm 66:1-12. When has the testing of God brought you out to “a spacious place”?
• Read 2 Timothy 2:8-15. How do you ready yourself to pres- ent yourself as one approved by God?
• Read Luke 17:11-19. The writer states that Jesus’ question, “Where are the other nine?,” invites us to receive God’s healing of illness and inner wounds. What in your life needs God’s healing touch?

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