Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pilgrimage(s) to Heaven Every Day

“All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.”

~Hebrews 11:13-14 (NRSV).

Those heroes of faith referred above were not home here on earth. It was at best the temporary dwelling, for God was their mantle. Theirs was a pilgrimage daily to the God-encounter, the call for which the Lord was taking them, and as per any journey, full of anticipation—adventures abounding each day!

Home for them was the Presence of God whilst they meandered over the earth.

Home on Earth? Via Fact and Experience

Whether people consider themselves home on earth or not is inconsequential to the fact. But, it’s not so to their experience. The fact resonates that we’re never entirely at home on earth whether we believe in God or not, for home would mean eternal peace. (Spiritual beings—i.e. every human being—cannot find a home in a physical place.)

It follows, then, that experience is coupled to this fact; the person at truth finds this earthly tent cannot hold them. There is something better far off in the distance.

“If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.”

~Hebrews 11:15-16 (NRSV).

The worst thing we can do when we embark on a journey, and as we traverse it, is look reflectively behind us. That time for reflection is some time off—when the homeland’s reached for safety, or at least a satisfactory way station that resembles the City of God.

When our thoughts of home join with the concepts that God has for us neither party is ashamed (or denying the reality) of the other. It’s a fact that we cannot escape the call of heaven; all are called, and only those holding to the truth answer affirmatively. It’s those who answer that agree that earth is not home; that each day’s a pilgrimage to heaven.

Each Day – Fresh Possibilities

God has not sent humankind on some fetch of fancy without apparent reason. There’s a purpose for existence, even if that’s to recognise that being on earth is propounding the distance to home. Some hunger for it. Others detest the thought. But all are headed there. But not yet for all but a few...

Instead, we’re offered life—but not just a life where we pretend we’re home.

When we visit with people or go on vacation we act differently. There’s a circumspect nature that’s added to our personas. Things are noticeable and experience is captured, not like our everyday experience of ‘home’ i.e. where we live. The pilgrimage is invigorating.

There’s a gentler respect known within that appreciates the size and nature of things—the size and nature of our persons is right-sized and right-natured... no longer are we the ‘centre’ of the universe.

And this is best the reminder of heaven. The City of God is a big place. So is the earth. But, we cannot comprehend how large in comparison is heaven. The daily pilgrimages made should reveal wonder at the size and nature of things, without fear of their size or nature overwhelming us.

Whichever way we look at it each day is a pilgrimage to heaven... one day closer to that reality in one realm, and one heavenly experience here during visitation on earth in another.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: Sarah J. Wickham, used by permission. Website:

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