My Friends in Christ,
I am focussing on the second lesson, read at Matins this morning, which comes from
Ephesians 2:11-22, which contains this wonderful text : Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Many years ago, when I still lived in Den Haag, the Netherlands, I came across this text one Sunday morning when I went to the German Lutheran Church on Bleyenburg. Above the altar was this text in German:" Nur sind wir nicht mehr Gaeste und Fremdlingen, sondern Buergern mit den Heiligen und Gottes Hausgenossen - the translation being what I quote in the text for this morning. It did not make an inpact of me at the time, but it started to make sense on my Christian pilgrimage through this barren land.
I have experienced this element of a foreigner and / or a guest a lot , because I chose to emigrate from Holland to New Zealand and later to this country Australia. It can be said to some immigrants fit in quicker then others , but at an earlier age of 18 I had enormous difficulties. People that rent you rooms or people where you board do not replace your own family. The sad issue of this immigration is that in the course of my life I never felt completely at home.In the late seventies I took my family back to live in Holland and as a grown up I cried for days with the joy of being back, seeing mum and dad and my brother and familiar surroundings. Because of a family illness we ended back in this part of the world, I cant really explain in this spot.
What I am conveying to you this morning is that no matter where we live and where we move too, our citizenship is very temporarily. We are all on a journey, a pilgrim through this barren land. And a barren land it is, I realized it again this morning when I looked at my home page Yahoo seven, the crimes committed in the last few days plashed out on the screen, really horrific. Then the sad story of Michael Schumacher entering a coma. A valley of sorrow and tears. But we don't need to be down hearted or lose courage. We just celebrated the birth of the little child Jesus in Bethlehem. Now in this new Church Year we are following Him as He grows up, suffers on the Cross for our redemption, ascends into Heaven to prepare a place for us. Because it is as Blessed Saint Paul said: Our citizenship is in Heaven.
God does want us to enjoy life, family and friends, but He encourages us not to cling to all things worldly as all passes into history , and it shall be no more.
You do not need a passport or visa to enter this Eternal Kingdom where sorrow and pain shall be no more, all you need to do is give your life to Jesus Christ, love Him and serve Him to the best of your abilities, love others and keep away from sin.
This is my good news to you today!
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne