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Seek the Welfare of the City

Drew Boa

On September 9th, CACE showed the film series For the Life of the Word: Letters to the Exiles (FLOW) in Barrows Auditorium.

If you did not attend the event, you should know that the series was not originally designed as a feature-length motion picture. FLOW is first and foremost video curriculum for small groups, meant to be viewed over multiple weeks.

If you did attend the event, you know that we watched all the episodes at once, back-to-back, spanning about 2.5 hours. Special guest Evan Koons called it “like drinking from a fire-hose.”

So whether you attended or not, you could probably benefit from a refreshingly distilled reprisal of what the series was all about, and ultimately, what salvation is all about.

FLOW begins macrocosmically, asking, “What is our salvation actually for?” and answering, “For the Life of the World.” This idea explodes the paradigm of God’s salvific plan beyond personal atonement and spiritualized eschatology to the redemption of our backyards, our families, our jobs, our cities, and every crack and crevice of the created universe.

Therefore, like the Israelites in exile, we as Christians are to “seek the welfare of the city you’ve been placed in…because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Such a perspective realigns our calling to the plumb-line of the Abrahamic covenant. Like Abraham, we are aliens in a foreign land, and yet, as God promised Abraham, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

FLOW repeatedly emphasizes that this great calling is a gift of grace. It is a gift to us from God, a gift through us to the world, and a gift from us to be offered back to God. We are fundamentally gift-givers who have the privilege of stewarding God’s macrocosmic economy in the microcosms of everyday life. Each episode of FLOW explores a different arena of life or “economy” in which Jesus Christ invitingly beckons us to join him in making all things new.

How do we respond as God’s people? By cultivating families that love, creativity that serves, justice that welcomes, wisdom that empowers, eyes that behold beauty, and a church that lives as “the body of Christ, given as a gift for the life of the world.”

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