Imagine being taken captive: stripped away from your homeland and forced to live among a strange people with strange customs. Broken and desolate, all you can think of is returning to the place where things make sense…where things are familiar.
This was their experience, while the Israelites were in exile in Babylon. Admiring the richness of their culture while despising the people of that culture, the Babylonians sought for the Israelites to sing the joyous songs of the Lord. Yet, their reply – whether articulated or intimated – was how can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?
The land indeed was strange, because the people did not honor the ways of God. Their society was powerful and successful, but it was godless. The Israelites could not dishonor God by singing righteous songs for the enjoyment of the unrighteous.
How indeed can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?
The Ancients would pray this Psalm as a reminder that we, of the Faith, find ourselves in exile in a strange land. And during our exile, we pledge ourselves to remember the Lord and to prefer His Holy City.
One of my favorite reggae artists performs a song that sets the mood for this DailyBread meditation:
This land is not our home. And the head of this land is not our Lord. Do you remember the Lord? Do you remember Zion? How do you remind yourself that you are an exile in this land?
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