It is for travelers to hasten to their homeland, likewise their part is anxiety upon the roadway, and in their homeland peace. Then let us, who are on the way, hasten home; for our whole life is like the journey of a single day.
- Columbanus, Sermon VIII, Irish, 7th century
But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
- Hebrews 11.16
The image of life as a journey toward an eternal home has appealed to theologians from all eras of the Church. We are on the move, heading somewhere, making progress, leaving old landmarks behind and always pressing on to the next mile marker.
And at the end of our journey, at least for the Christian, is the promise of peace. The mere prospect of that uninterrupted state of bliss and bounty can bring calm and contentment into the struggles, roadblocks, and detours we encounter along our way.
Columbanus and other writers of the Celtic Christian period dwelt on this image frequently, as did Jonathan Edwards and John Bunyan in later ages. The story of Brendan the Navigator, who flourished around 560 AD, and his journeys upon the western ocean, are all about making the journey of life in the Presence of the Lord, and drawing upon His sustaining grace every step of the way. It’s a good model and one with solid Biblical foundations (cf. Ps. 84; Heb. 12.1, 2).
We are here on a journey toward an eternal home, which Christ is even now preparing for us. We are not at home here on earth; rather, we are traveling toward our home, longing for it, eagerly anticipating it, happily talking about it as though we would reach it soon and very soon, preparing ourselves in the here and now for the way our lives will be forever, there and then. We do not find our home at any point along the journey, for our eyes are always on the bright light just beyond the horizon, where we know eternal peace awaits.
But there are protocols for the journey. There is work to do as we make progress along the way. We do not simply trudge blindly or blithely along the pathway of life, without regard for our companions or the people who watch us along the way. Them we would encourage to join us, and to help us keep our eyes fixed on that bright glow beyond the horizon of time.
Nor are we indifferent to the creation around us, knowing that it, too, is destined to be renewed in peace. Or the social conventions and cultural forms that make our journey richer, more decent and orderly, more fruitful, and, yes, more enjoyable. The peace that awaits us in the new creation will find us flourishing as makers and users of culture, but without any of the corrupted and degrading forms so common today. We are happy and eager to practice our eternal vocations amid the deteriorating and disintegrating forms of our dying world as a kind of witness and invitation to that promised land of the saints.
Where we are headed, peace will obtain, in all its hoped-for forms and to its fullest extent.
So we ready ourselves for that grand arrival, being clothed with righteousness, pursuing excellence and goodness, leaving tokens of healing and renewal for others to follow, and proclaiming peace, forgiveness, and revival to all who observe us along the way.
The only way to find peace in the journey is to anticipate the peace that awaits us in the City to Come. The way to lose all peace is to believe that our peace is derived from the sights or experiences along the way, rather than the lights that glow beyond time.
Your life is a journey. You don’t live here; you’re just moving through toward peace.
Concentrate on the peace that awaits you then and there, and live that peace in all your undertakings here and now.
1. What kinds of situations typically rob you of your peace? How can focusing on our “then and there” help you to realize that peace in the midst of this life’s trials?
2. What can as believers do to encourage on another in our peace?
Psalm 84.5-7 (Holy Manna: Brethren, We Have Met to Worship)
Blest are they whose strength is founded in Your strength, O Lord above.
All whose hearts in You are grounded journey in Your strength and love.
Though they weep with tears of sadness, grace shall all their way sustain.
In Your presence, filled with gladness, they shall conquer all their pain.
Help me on my journey today, Lord, as I…
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T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Walker, p. 95.