“So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the
land of Egypt,”
so writes God when giving the law to Israel. Peter changes it up a little in the new
testament, addressing his letter to ‘aliens and strangers.’ The word vagabond carries the same idea.
Webster defines vagabond as one that goes from place to place without a fixed
home. The funny part is that Christians
have a fixed home—but not here. The
Christian has a home in heaven. In our
body and skin we get stuck here and lose sight of our ‘fixed’ residence. The alien gets stuck to the earth; call it
vaga-bonding if you will.
We have sticky feet with toes like Gollum that cling to this earthly soil. That’s the curse of our flesh. Peter tells his readers to ‘abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” “Unstick your feet,” is what he’s saying. Which is incredibly hard.
We live in this solid, visual, tactile world and it certainly feels like home. Most of the time. It’s like Turkish Delight in Narnia,
“Probably the Queen knew quite well what he was thinking; for she knew, though Edmund did not, that this was enchanted Turkish Delight and that anyone who had once tasted it would want more and more of it, and would even, if they were allowed, go on eating it till they killed themselves. But she did not offer him any more.”We go on and on trying to sate our stomachs with what we see with our eyes. We’re supposed to focus on what we don’t see though---to walk by faith and not by sight. So hard though to taste Heaven. So difficult to be satisfied in Christ. It’s a struggle, it’s a war to choose to walk in those things that are true but unseen and turn from what we can strike with our hands.
To make the tension all the worse there are those connections we have with humanity. These are good, solid, God created relationships. It is good to love one’s wife, to find joy in one’s child, to smile when you connect with another human being. Who hasn’t felt the security and affirming love in a real hug? It’s like you could stay in that embrace forever—like going home.
One gets the idea that this life is all about the tasting but not about being full and satisfied. We are told to ‘taste and see that God is good.’ We are fed on tales of a Promised Land which is far off. Then Peter tells us about “an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven.” Until then we wander as aliens walking in the tactile and looking forward to that which will truly feed both senses