One of the most common temptations for Christian people is to hate where, and when, they live. We love to decry that we’re “living in the End Times,” or that “the White House has become the outhouse,” or that we’ve lost our heritage as “a Christian nation.”

Do you ever wonder if God is kneeling in front of us, as though we were children, pleading, “Can’t you just enjoy what you have?” It’s okay to be happy, to flourish, and to work together with others. That seems like such a silly reminder, but the unchecked momentum of Christendom is increasingly stuffy and segregated. We become “holy” and then wholly closed off, leaving the sinful world to rot around us.

But Jeremiah’s words halt us in our tracks. “Plant gardens in Babylon”? That’s like suggesting art appreciation in a henhouse—the location undermines the curriculum, when beauty is jammed into junk. We’re not just called to “bloom where we’re planted.” We’re called to plant everywhere, at all times and in all places, and love the blooms. Love the blooms—love New York, love New Delhi, love North Delta.

Because God isn’t waiting for you to start moving; God is just waiting for you to stop hating

Adapted from the Story Lectionary, page 221