The Land of Your Sojourn (Genesis 17:8)
The Land of Your Sojourn, the new student theme for 2013-2014, is taken from Genesis 17:8. The theme reminds us that this world is not our intended home. Our sojourning through this land is with a purpose, and that purpose is to be the presence in the world of the redeemed world that the world might remember again why it was created.
"I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." This life of faith is a journey. We the redeemed are in the world but not of the world and I think deep down we all know it. We sense it. It is in the fabric of our being; we know we were not made for this world, as it is. We are sojourning through a strange land. The paradox is: this world is BOTH a strange land AND our everlasting home. That is God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 17…it is our promise too.
Heaven is coming to earth and this world will be our everlasting possession (Revelation 21:1-3). The perfection of Eden and the relationship of God to mankind and creation will again be realized. This world is not our home…but it will be.
For now, we ought not be too at home here; we are sojourners after all. But here is the key: we are sojourning with a promise…and with a purpose. Our lives and our love ought to resound like an echo in the ears of this world…a familiar sound of a far off place that deep down we know we were created for. A good place, a perfect place, a place of beauty, a place in which we finally are who we know we were always intended to be.
Our sojourning through this land is with a purpose, and that purpose is to be the presence in the world of the redeemed world, that the world might remember again why it was created.
We are ambassadors of Christ in a foreign land, extending his Kingdom, ushering in the end in which Christ will return and this world, which we were made for and was made for us, will be ours again, our eternal possession to be lived and enjoyed forever with our God.
We’ll begin the fall semester by laying the foundation of the theme. The purpose of this is to show that we were made for the perfect and intended relationship between God, mankind, and creation, and that relationship was broken. We were exiled from the garden, but with the imprint of God on our souls; therefore, we know deep down that we’re not home here and now. Yet, restoration will come and this world, in which we are now exiles and aliens, will again be our home. The perfect and intended relationship between God, mankind, and creation is not only our beginning, it is also our end. The land of our sojourning will be given to us for an everlasting possession.
We will then make a turn and step into Letters from a Sojourner. The purpose of this is to help answer the question: How then do we the redeemed now live? The answer to that question is that we live in the world as the presence of the redeemed world. What does that look like? In many ways, the answer to the question is the purpose of the New Testament canon. It is not easy, it is not immediate. It is a journey. It is the THE journey. We can take heart, though, in knowing that we are not the first to make the journey. Paul’s letters are written from a sojourner to sojourners in order to guide them, teach them, encourage them and exhort them as they make the journey of living life in the land of their sojourn.