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Thursday, 5 September 2013

Between the past and the promise

The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father' family, and go to the land that I will show you.
(Gen 12:1)


A journey begins with a departure. We leave something. And often what we leave may be familiar, comfortable, safe. We may be fond of it and secure in it. The journey many of us have been on (and are still on), has meant leaving what was familiar and safe. And frankly you do not know how everything is going to work out. It’s a risk. Another word for it - adventure. We could have stayed right where we were and minimised the risk. But our place of security would have become our cemetery - as it did for Abram's father, Terah (Gen.11:31-32). The journey may be scary and challenging, we face uncertainty and challenge, detours and disappointments, - but at least we're alive! And learning and changing.  And moving forward. Because as well as a departure, Abram had a destination. He had a divine promise - the land. The challenge of pilgrimage is that it's the journey that lies between leaving the past and entering the promise. But he had something else - in the promise of land was the implicit promise of the divine presence, because it was land that He would show him. God was coming along as his guide! So the gap between departure and promise can actually be filled with Presence. Between leaving the familiar past and entering the future promise, there is only Presence. Pilgrimage, then, is all about where we place our security - in the familiar place or in the  divine presence. And where you place your security is a matter of life and death.

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