HOW A GROUP survives under adverse conditions helps its members see and know who they truly are. These lectionary readings are instructive for politically disoriented and lamenting people groups attempting to build community in exilic situations while also finding hope in their distress.
Walls crumbled when the kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonian Empire and tribal social culture and customs ruptured. Forced migration compels ruptured communities to take stock. What carries cultural permanence and what gets reconstituted from one generation to the next helps us see that we are at our best when we recognize that our creaturely identity and divine potential are bestowed by a benevolent Creator.
In the epistles, Timothy is taught to call upon his spiritual heritage to accomplish his pastoral assignment in Ephesus, though Paul worries that Timothy’s mixed Gentile-Jewish ancestry might be more of a barrier than a blessing for him.