In A Strange Land

It seems to me that life carries us into strange places on occasion – places where I have not been before. Such experiences can be quite distracting. In very strong instances such experiences can threaten to take over our lives and redefine everything around us. Living as a Christian in a strange land is difficult.

Abraham leaves his own home, complete with its own struggles, and travels to a strange land. The context changes deeply, and yet the context of the God who called him there remains consistent, at least as Abraham knows God.

The goal of my life in Christ is to remain faithful to Christ. Despite changes that inevitably shake my world, the goal remains the same and Christ is without change. Thus there is a Rock which cannot be shaken and whose purpose remains the same.

I have a sense that many things are being shaken in our world just now – and far more than we can see at present. I encourage my readers and friends to remain faithful to the Rock upon whom our lives are present. We have no “abiding city,” no political philosophy, no marriage to the transient things of this world. Many things seem to be shaken at present – though the Kingdom we seek cannot be shaken.

Pray for one another and be hopeful. He who cannot be shaken, and who abides, governs all. It is to Him that our hearts and lives belong and for Him that we alone hunger.

May God keep us all and fill us with the hope that abides – always.

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.



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14 responses to “In A Strange Land”

  1. Rebecca Avatar
    Rebecca

    Father, bless.
    Something I so needed to hear right now. Beautiful and necessary. Thank you, again, for your timely words.

  2. abbamoses Avatar

    Fr Stephen, This austere post affected me powerfully, especially the paragraph “I have a sense…” It seems that as the world comes apart we cling to it ever harder; the temptation of “marriage to the transient things” seems to become greater as it becomes more suicidal.
    Thanks for your ministry.

  3. Robert Avatar
    Robert

    “no political philosophy” – so true, but yet a much overlooked point. This mirrors my concern expressed before in regards to the subversion of the Christian faith. We have allowed ourselves to become, perhaps unwittingly, the handmaiden of the state and popular culture in our quest to remain relevant and influential. This is not a call to pietism, but to understand the underlying presuppositions we have accepted, some are fundamentally opposed to our faith.

  4. Margaret Avatar
    Margaret

    Thank you for this post and especially for these encouraging words:

    Pray for one another and be hopeful. He who cannot be shaken, and who abides, governs all. It is to Him that our hearts and lives belong and for Him that we alone hunger.

  5. NW Nikolai Avatar
    NW Nikolai

    Thank-you Father, the simplicity of this post speaks deeply to me… it is an encouragement.

  6. Darlene Avatar
    Darlene

    Thank you, Father, for this reminder. The kingdom of this world is temporal, “for here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come.” Those things around us which used to seem as trustworthy bulwarks are beginning to crumble. In times like these we must cling to Christ, a dependable refuge from the storms of life. His Kingdom is an everlasting one and we have access to it in the here and now. Glory to God! “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” Hebrews 12:28

  7. Darlene Avatar
    Darlene

    Robert,
    Your reference to becoming “handmaidens of the state and popular culture in our quest to remain relevant and influential” rings true in our current milieu. I think that even the Church will be shaken, so that those who are genuine will be recognized. Our Beloved calls us to hide ourselves beneath His pinions to be protected from the imminent dangers which would cause us to despair.

  8. […] For me, for us, for the Church here and now. We are, as the brilliant Fr. Stephen said on his blog today, living in a strange time, and in a strange land. These things that are going on around us, […]

  9. davidperi Avatar

    I have lived over seas over 25 years, the sense of change in the world today in the U.S., Europe and the M.E., has made me focus more on the Risen Christ and His life for me in the past few years…and, even more so as I get older.

  10. Rhonda Avatar
    Rhonda

    Fr. Stephen,

    Thank you for antother timely posting.

    “I have a sense that many things are being shaken in our world just now – and far more than we can see at present.” I have sensed this as well & discussed it with my local parish priest several times over the recent months. His words echo yours “…to remain faithful to the Rock upon whom our lives are present.”

  11. Juliana Avatar
    Juliana

    Dear Fr. Stephen,
    As my own tiny world has recently been shaken to its core I thank you so deeply for these words of encouragement. I read your blog daily and rarely post as it seems I would just be posting, “thank you” over and over again, but today I feel compelled to say to you, from the depth of my soul, “thank you”. God has used you, again, for His glory alone.

  12. BLDavis Avatar
    BLDavis

    Excellent!

  13. John Avatar
    John

    So true, Father Stephen! With so much happening even here is safe old Switzerland, it’s easy to panic and follow the crowd in whatever the latest zeitgeist happens to be. Then the still, small voice comes and we turn back to the only person who can help us. Many thanks for your words!

  14. […] I recently read this in a post by Fr. Stephen Freeman, […]

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