I have moved around 15 times in 25 years. I have told that to even some military families and they look at me in shock. That is, honestly, a stupid number of moves. Some were big. Some were small. All were disruptive. My childhood was somewhat similar. My biological parents had divorced by the time I was 2. I went to my dad’s on weekends and spent the week with my mom. As a child, where home was, well, questionable. Many of us have some part of us that is unsettled. Whether it is dissatisfaction at home (I pray not, but it is reality), work, school, or even church, we may not feel welcome or whole or as if we belong. It can be spiritual, emotional, financial, or even something else.
We shouldn’t be particularly surprised by this. We have the image of God (Imago Dei) in us. This world, as the saying goes, is not our home.
Jacob (Israel) and his family settled in Goshen. Goshen became (for all intents and purposes) the home of the Hebrews. Yet, even while there, from beginning to end, it was not really their home. The Promised Land was to be their home. The place their children’s children’s…children would be.
Those that joined the Way (one of the original names for Christians) both joined a new place of belonging and alienated their origin belonging (whether Jew or Greek). They became aliens in their own land.
Being alien (or strangers) in one’s own land can seem to be peculiar. That is actually one of the issues that American Christians have (or perhaps should have). American Christians are often that…Americans that happen to be Christians. That isn’t quite as strange as Christians that happen to be American. Seems the same? Except the primacy is different. Christian first; American second.
And I lost some people right there. None of us want to be strangers in the country in which we were born. Perhaps, though, we are called to be strangers more than familiar.
- Why might it be more important for a Christian to be a stranger in rather than a citizen of the country in which they live (even if born there)?
- What can a stranger often see that the comfortable cannot?
Lord, we are ambassadors of your Kingdom. Thus, we are not of this world. Help us to realize this in the depths of our souls. Amen.