PILGRIMS AND SOJOURNERS JUST PASSING THROUGH
I know I’m beginning to feel like a Californian (the real thing, the people on the inside, those who have called this place home for a long time, the people who know things about Southern CA, at least more things than he tourists and newcomers know) I know and have experienced the West Coast meanings of May Gray and June Gloom. I have dethroned the rumor that it never rains in Southern California. I wear a jacket or hoodie now, (didn’t for a while) when the weather gets into the 50’s. When it gets into the 50’s in Michigan we bring out short pants, tee shirts and flip-flops. I have learned as a true Californian-homey to complain when the weather does not top 70 over a period of days, and when it gets way too close to the 90’s, we complain. (Yes, we do!)
I do hear and appreciate some of the more encouraging comments, like: “It’s another beautiful day in the neighborhood”, or “It’s another beautiful day in paradise”. Even the local natives, (come on now, admit it) you love the weather of San Diego. Sure, we might complain, but it’s like I told my kids: Just because we followed you to San Diego, if you move, don’t expect us to follow you. I might complain on some grey days of May, but it still beats places that are cold, snowy and icy. (Of course, that’s my opinion) I do like the mountains of Colorado, the South Jersey shorelines, Manhattan’s Central Park and the Great Lakes, but only as a tourist, not a year rounder. Been there and done that.
I like to think of the Christian journey as “another beautiful day in paradise”. I know there’s lots of stuff in your lives and my life that we have trouble associating with paradise, but for the most part I’m thankful for this daily “rule of life” that I refer to as liturgy, your work and my work as individuals and the people of God in the Family of God. (the liturgy of the people)
Another way to think about our spiritual journey is like riding a bike. Once we get the hang of it, we will never forget how it’s done. My days of riding a bicycle on the streets are probably over, but even those of us who do not ride bikes on the road anymore, remember that once you learn to ride a bike, the knowledge never leaves you. We might get rusty after not riding for a long time, but the journey is still before us, and in no time were up and riding again. The Christ journey is like that. Sometimes we lose our way. Sometimes we take the wrong road, but we still travel. Sometimes our journeys intercept with others, which makes sense, because we all have the same destination.
From Genesis to Revelation we are constantly reminded that we are on a spiritual journey. We have a destination, and that journey end, as holy and wonderful as it will be, is not the journey. The journey is right here, right now. We are sojourners and pilgrims just as Adam and Eve, Jonah, Moses, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Mary, Joseph and a cloud full of others (Hebrews 12:1) The journey is day to day journey of faith.
We all have been called to do what God has called us to do; to be faithful in our work; to be faithful in school; be faithful in relationships; toour family; our friends, and to be faithful toour church. Sometimes even when we are in church, where we think God wants us to be, we don’t know what God wants us to do. But we can say;
“Here I am God. I’m listening. Show me the way I should live, and I will follow you. Lead me forward and I will follow, wherever that may lead in my life. It may be foreign to me and it may be what I am not used to. But I am willing to do what you have called me to do”.
The Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country from Ur of the Chaldeans, from your kindred and family, to the land that I will show you. And Abram went as the Lord told him”.
The word church, ecclesia, means the “community of called out ones”. Our citizenship is in heaven. Just as the sojourners before us were called out to travel this spiritual journey of faith, so that message comes to us, as well: “Come out. I have a place for you”.