Coming home

In which I take part in a synchroblog. Visiting family and friends over the Christmas holidays is like the mince pie at the bottom of a cramped and sooty chimney: a warm welcome quickly makes us forget an arduous journey. Spare a thought then, for the men and women of the Bible who spent their whole lives on the road to God's Kingdom.

It's cold outside. And windy. There's a great oak tree at the front of our house that creaks and groans as it sways in the breeze. I'm sure that I'll wake up one day to find my car has been flattened under a fallen branch.

At this time of year I am very grateful for the indoors. The house seems warm and cosy in a way that isn't related to temperature; perhaps it's the contrast of light and life inside with the still darkness of winter.

But my appreciation of bricks and mortar stands in contrast to the experience of many faithful men and women:

"By faith [Abraham] lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God." - Hebrews 11v9-10, NASB

Abraham spent almost his whole life in the land he had been promised, and never even put down so much as a brick. The only land that he owned was the hole that he buried his family in.

Recall that Abraham was blessed with great wealth and riches: he had so much livestock that there wasn't physically enough space for him to dwell alongside his nephew Lot. He had enough servants to leave skeleton crew in charge of his animals while he led a small militia on a 200 mile rescue mission against 4 invading armies. That's a lot of people.

This is what it looks like when about 40 members of our church go camping (weather may vary):

Most of the time it rains. A lot. We should probably stop going to Wales.

Can you imagine what Abraham's encampment would look like? A little city under cloth and animal skin, with major thoroughfares, utility tents, communal areas laid out around the great oak of Mamre. At night it would be lit by the glow of a thousand oil lamps, homes swaddled warm against the starry expanse of heaven. And there wasn't a permanent structure in sight!

Because it was not yet his land, nor his home.

Thousands of years have passed and Abraham still sleeps. The Kingdom of God is yet a promise. For all who would walk in the footsteps of Christ the straight and narrow path stretches out through the dark, lit brightly by the pages of Scripture. The sons of Adam do not tread this way easily.

The writer to the Hebrews offers advice. He points us to another man who had nowhere to lay his head: Jesus.

"Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." - Hebrews 12v1-2

So as we travel, and visit, and welcome this holiday, let us remember the greater journey we are called to walk. The walk to a greater home than tents, or wood or bricks, and for which no encumberance is worthy. The walk to the house of God.

Here are the other synchroblog posts:

Nathan

Bible enthusiast, husband, Dad, and tech-head with too many projects and not enough time.