How do we function when we’re unsettled and in between places?
For many years we had the opportunity to serve college students and young adults. Transient describes that stage of life. When it came time to name a mid-sized gathering of post-college young adults at ECC, “Sojourn” was chosen because it communicated the common experience of being in a place between places.
Through the month of June, our family stayed in five hotels, at the homes of multiple grandparents, and in two unsettled houses half a country apart. We traveled over 1000 miles in our vehicles and packed/unpacked 2000 square feet of house. While with one set grandparents, our three year old, Pearl, started crying, “I want to go home.” We calmed her down but sadly said, “Pearl, we don’t have a home right now.” That caught us off guard. We knew we had a nomadic month as part of this process, but being “homeless” wasn’t real until we said that to Pearl. She took it better than we did. The following week we heard her correct the other grandparents when they said we were going home for the night. She said matter-of-factly, “We don’t have a home.”
The transience of Jesus’ ministry is interesting. It appears his message cost him his hometown, Nazareth. He clearly wasn’t embraced in Jerusalem, and his itinerant ministry throughout Galilee meant He was never in one place for very long. Beyond that, His cosmic journey as the Christ meant that every incarnated moment was an experience of homelessness for Him.
We’ve lived in Bloomington-Normal, Cary, Minooka, Cleveland, Niagara, Norwalk and Fairfield this June. Each time we loaded and unloaded the cars, we realized we weren’t yet home. We ultimately long for a better city whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 11.10). We join our story to the stories of the sojourners throughout Scripture – beginning with Adam and Eve, including the patriarchs, the exodus and the exiles, the apostles and those persecuted. Our lives are lived in places between places. We now tell Pearl that we have a house, but we aren’t yet home.