This blog-writing is a lot harder than I thought it would be. As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, “The Beginning of the Journey,” I decided to start writing, because I had this inner desire to share my thoughts and I do believe in the positive benefits of it.
So here we are 4 blog posts in…and I recall that I said I would mention why I chose the name “Sojourner In This Place” for the blog. It does have much meaning to me which I will share in this week’s post.
Where do we hear the word “sojourner” in the liturgical services of the church? The two locations that come to my mind quickly are the following:
1) Litany of the Travelers
As for us, too, O Lord, keep our sojourn in this life without harm, without storm, and undisturbed to the end.
2) The Diptych in the Divine Liturgy
And we, too, who are sojourners in this place, keep us in Your faith, and grant us Your peace unto the end.
So, what is a sojourner? Essentially, a sojourner is a stranger in a foreign land. People sojourn all the time and wander from place to place. The root word, “sojourn” usually refers to a temporary stay or temporary dwelling. These two parts of the church services have always resonated with me a lot. Now when I take the wording into the context of my two examples provided, I come out with the following:
It’s clear and understood that the life we live is a temporary one. We live in a foreign land. Examine this excerpt of the Divine Liturgy; “keep us in Your faith.” Being strangers in this foreign land, one could assume, would cause us to question our beliefs, our faith, our hearts. We are praying that while in this foreign land, we are kept in His faith, and granted His peace unto the end.
I want you to think back to how many times you may have moved in your life? Maybe to a different country, a different state, or city, or just next door to another home within the same city. No matter the case, in each situation of your move, you became a stranger in that land, that you were going to live at. There was a period of my life, where I would internally fight myself, because of constant movements in my life. It took lots of praying and growing up to realize, I am just a stranger in this world.
Because I am a stranger in this world, because I go from place to place throughout my life, my constant prayer should be, “to be kept in the faith, to be granted peace.” Can you imagine if your faith fluctuated based on where you lived at? Maybe that already happens for some people. But it doesn’t have to happen to you anymore. Take control of your spirituality with guidance from your spiritual father.
Why? Because there is a purpose and reason that you are in the land you are currently in. What does that even mean? Look at your life, from the perspective of a garden. I love gardening and I hope that one day, I would be able to have a full garden to rely on. Say you have a mint plant, or rosemary, or hydrangeas and you want more of them. What do you do? I will keep it simple. You basically cut a portion of the plant and plant it elsewhere in the garden. Over the course of time, that plant too will grow and be fruitful. This is how I envision being a sojourner in the world. We are here for a purpose in a strange land. As a Christian, with my citizenship in Heaven, the goal is to keep the faith wherever I go.
I am reminded of our father Abraham, when God spoke to him and told him to leave and go somewhere else.
“Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:1-2)
How many times did Abraham’s life change? How many places did he sojourn? But no matter what happened, Abraham kept his faith in the Lord.
If we are responsible for a specific service in the church and are asked to serve in another capacity, we are to keep the faith. If we have been relocated due to work or school, and find ourselves in a foreign land, we are to keep the faith. No matter what our role is in the church or in society, or wherever God leads us, we still have to keep the faith. We should do our best to preach the message of our Lord Jesus Christ to each and every single person that we interact with, as best we can.
At the end of the day, I am just a sojourner in this place, awaiting to go home.