Travel makes us desperate for home, a place of sanctuary and wholeness.
Being home reminds us, we have miles to go before we are forever home.
The apocalyptic vision of the New Testament dislocates us from temporal hopes and transforms us into people who wander toward a greater vision. As such, our lives are full of displacement, expulsion, and separation. Yet we are not alone as pilgrims, sojourners, aliens, and strangers, as these figure prominently in both the Old and New Testaments. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Jesus and Paul sojourned into foreign places and among strangers. The writer of the book of Hebrews describes Jesus as suffering outside the gate and suggests that we should “go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach” (Heb 13:12-13). Peter names the believers “scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” as those who reside as aliens (1 Pt 1:2). As followers of Christ, we are meant to wander as he did.
The following are my words to graduates at the commencement exercise at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University on December 14, 2012.
Truett graduates, we congratulate you. You made it! Well done. We are extremely proud to call you our graduates, and we anticipate that God will accomplish much in and through you as you serve Christ and his church in the years ahead. Congratulations!
The teenage years can be hard. Believe or not, I was once a teenager – many, many years ago. And I raised several teenagers myself. Teens can be hard – hard on parents, hard on the furniture, and hard of hearing. As a teen, I remember being in turmoil – fighting with my brothers, resisting my parents, and pushing the boundaries. And yet, in those difficult teenage years, in the midst of my fighting and in my search for boundaries, words came to me that arrested and challenged me. I don’t remember who spoke them, or much of the context in which they were spoken. But I do recall what I felt as I heard them and remember being struck by them – so much so, that I have held them in my memory all these years. A speaker told the story of a French Huguenot evangelist, who was imprisoned for preaching his faith and then sentenced to be burned alive. Tied to a stake, officials gave him one last chance to recant before lighting the wood at his feet. He responded with these words – What I say with my lips, I seal with my life. Continue reading
Given a chance religion will squeeze desire and love from life. It tends to destroy our deepest feelings and hopes. By necessity, it requires uniformity and compliance, and therefore, uniqueness and diversity, appetites and passions must yield to a sameness of mind and heart that blunt and numb our spirit and being. Religion can kill. Continue reading
While I must strive toward a destination and goals, I, at the same time, need to live as though the journey is its own reward. To journey today means I live the next step, lean into the upcoming turn, and love those in front of me. My greatest temptation is to live too far in the past or to look too far into the future.