In the end, we are all exiles here below held captive by our fallen state and desires, and we are remembering that state of exile during this Lenten season and calling to mind our true home in the Heavenly City. Yet in our earthly existence we have accomplished another very strange thing, which is to exile ourselves voluntarily from the places we have called home and to condition ourselves to think of this cycle of repeated exiling as normal and even desirable. Not only do I suspect that most Americans would find this hymn strange, but for a great many of us there is no longer a Jerusalem for us to forget, for it has already been forgotten if it was ever there at all. In this, we have not renounced our own wills, as monastics do, but have increasingly cut ourselves off from others for our own sakes in almost inverse proportion to our ability to communicate with them.
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