BUILDING ON THE RUINS OF CIVILIZATION
Jesus spoke to his followers about the volatile environment they lived in. In their lifetime they would see Jerusalem fall in AD 70. They became exiles in their own city.
The Messianic vision includes a new place to live. Where you are now is filled with troubles. There a better place to live and Jesus will return to take us there.
For now, we know that cities are built on the ruins of former dreams. One day we will all die and only the eternal blessings of God in our lives will be forwarded to subsequent generations. God is involved in the rise and fall of cities. We are a people that need to live in our cities expressing the Kingdom values of another city—the New Jerusalem.
There are really two cities existing in the world at this time-- the City of Man and the approaching City of God. Augustine wrote about the differences between the two.
In A.D. 410, a pivotal moment in Western history, the Vandals, under the command of their king, Alaric, captured the city of Rome.
Rome was known as the Eternal City because the Romans thought that it would literally never fall, and the year 410 shook this belief to its foundations and ultimately led to the collapse of the Roman Empire. The world itself seemed to have been destroyed, and everyone sought answers about what to do and what to believe in. Those who adhered to the waning pagan faith were quick to blame the Christians, claiming that the gods had abandoned Rome because many Romans had forsaken them and taken the new faith. These Romans claimed that Christians were not patriotic enough because they asked people to serve God rather than the state, and they advocated forgiveness toward enemies. More important, they said the Christian God had failed to protect Rome, as he should have done, since Constantine had declared him to be the one true God. The angry wrangling between the two communities prompted Augustine to begin writing The City of God in 413.[i]
Like Jeremiah’s people, we are exiles from the City of God called to live hopeful and helpful in the City of Man. We live for the good of our city with New Jerusalem values.