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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Aliens and Sojourners... happy after good food and fellowship

This is a photo we took today right before the Schaefers, a missionary family to India (and prior to that, Singapore, where we got to know them) left our place. They were visiting with Pastor Schaefer's sister who lives in Canada and took time to join us in our Toronto home for lunch before driving back to the States where they were visiting family and friends. There are actually 6 daughters--three are away at Bob Jones University--and they are all dear friends of ours who helped make our wedding in June 2003 an especially memorable one.

We had a good time sharing updates over a local (Singapore) lunch of Hainanese chicken rice rounded off with an American favourite, cheesecake.

Why "aliens and sojourners"? None of us are intending to settle in Canada; we're all just passing through, whether visiting with family or pursuing our studies. Legally speaking, my husband and I are indeed alien residents here in Toronto. Most importantly, we are as Christians all sojourners and pilgrims here on earth, recognising that this is not our permanent home. Perhaps this pilgrim status is all the more obvious in the job and lives of missionaries who in a very tangible sense often do not own residential property. Nonetheless, all believers are exhorted to live in a way so that others may clearly see that they are seeking a better country.

I'm reminded of a hymn of consecration composed by a contemporary writer Mac Lynch entitled "Make Me A Stranger". The first stanza goes:
Make me a stranger on earth, dear Saviour,
Make me a stranger more like Thee.
Help me keep my focus on heavenly treasure,
And not on earthly, may it be.
Lord, lead me onward, as a pilgrim,
Bound for heaven, never to roam.
Make me a stranger on earth, dear Saviour,
Till I reach my heavenly home.
"All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles
on the earth.
... But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God;
for He has prepared a city for them."
~ Hebrews 11:13, 16

More photos: click on photo to see enlarged version (warning: some are blurry and may tire your eyes if you look too long!)


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