Why “These Traveling Days”?

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S-Bahn in Berlin

When I was eight or nine years old, a neighbor kid convinced my parents to purchase a necklace for me from her school fundraiser.  It had a glass bead filled with some kind of liquid where a small bubble bead floated.  The bubble could be personalized with any word, and my elementary-grade self chose the word “traveler.”  Maybe I had a deep understanding, even then, of the importance traveling holds in any life.  Maybe I already connected the common human experience of travel to a deeper spiritual need.

Or maybe I was eight.

Whatever the reason may have been, the word still draws me.  Traveler.  Barring the 1,412 (give or take) road trips to Texas from Kansas to visit relatives, my travel experiences have been relatively rare – though I would love to swap stories with you sometime.  I’m far from a frequent flyer or gypsy soul, but I have a passport and would take the chance to use it again.

For the Christian, “travel” does take a deeper meaning.  Most travelers spend a lot of time in transit – getting from one place to another is a journey and never really “over,” even when the destination has been reached.  The traveler realizes she is in this place only temporarily, and home is not here.  Home is elsewhere, though she (and her place of residence) will likely be different because of what she experiences through the journey.

Jesus says we have places in Heaven that will be ready for us when we get there.  In light of that, the apostle Peter says we should live differently, “as sojourners” (1 Peter 2:11).  As travelers.  Because home, we know, isn’t in this world.  It’s elsewhere.

  1. Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
    Sing His mercy and His grace;
    In the mansions bright and blessed
    He’ll prepare for us a place.

o    Refrain:
When we all get to heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

  1. While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
    Clouds will overspread the sky;
    But when trav’ling days are over,
    Not a shadow, not a sigh.
  2. Let us then be true and faithful,
    Trusting, serving every day;
    Just one glimpse of Him in glory
    Will the toils of life repay.
  3. Onward to the prize before us!
    Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
    Soon the pearly gates will open;
    We shall tread the streets of gold.

Eliza Hewitt, emphasis added

http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/w/wwag2hvn.htm

we are not yet where we will be