A Tale of Two Cities: A Sermon on Exile, for Forgiveness Sunday (2018)

February 17, 2018

A Tale of Two Cities: A Sermon on Exile, for Forgiveness Sunday (2018)

Today during Matins we heard for the third and final time this year the singing of the beautiful and haunting psalm “By the waters of Babylon.” This psalm tells us a story, the same story that comprises all of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. It is the story of our home, and of our exile from it. The psalm tells the story of the Israelites taken away captive into Babylon, weeping for the Jerusalem that was lost. This story is mirrored also in the Gospel readings of the three Sundays on which it is sung: it is the story of the Prodigal Son, “coming to himself” in the far country and remembering the Father’s house. It is the story of the Last Judgement, that great day on which all of us will return home, whether we will it or not. And above all, it is the story of Adam, weeping outside the gates of Paradise.

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