Our latest sermon series kicks off with an introduction to the book of Daniel, and what this book about an ancient people who are no longer the centre of political and cultural power and influence in their day teach us about how we can and should behave as modern followers of Christ.
Read Daniel 1:1-2 in a couple different translations (e.g., NIV, NRSV)
- Do you remember ways in which Canada used to be more “Christian”?
- When you think of being a Christian in Canada, what thoughts or feelings come to mind?
- How do you feel by the opportunity? Excited, threatened, embraced, ignored, misunderstood?
- The sermon suggested that “the Land of Shinar” was thought of as a place in which upward mobility means ignoring God (tower of Babel, Genesis 11.) Wickedness is at home (Zechariah 5,) our God is seen as redundant or powerless (his temple’s sacred vessels are placed in foreign god’s temple [Daniel 1:2] symbolizing his defeat.) Which of these descriptions reminds you of something in your contemporary context (Canadian culture, personal life, vocation, education)?
- Do you experience pressure to fit in better with “the land of Shinar”? What helps?
- Given the description of the “the land of Shinar,” it would appear that it’s going to be harder for God’s people to live faithful lives: they no longer have the support of a Jewish king enforcing their religion and laws, nor can they count on their neighbours sharing the same beliefs about morality and religion. From here on, they are “exiles”: people living away from home— geographically, culturally, and spiritually (as 1 Peter 1:1, 17; 2:11 reinforces). How does being an exile change the way we think about ourselves? What are the risks for an exile? What are the key things an exile would need to stay faithful?
- How does being in exile change the way we think about this country (its leaders, laws, politics, religions, etc.)?