Stranger in a Strange Land

Being the staunch Commonwealth citizen that I am, I planned a mini-jubilee party for the family yesterday. It was fun, but not what I had anticipated. Instead of just having a fun time, it made me feel like a total expat. Here we were in the middle of an American state and election season having a cream tea and watching the BBC’s video coverage (with a ridiculously overpriced Yorkie). That was the best we could do where we were. No parades, no fireworks, no Union Jack to wave, and nobody else’s kids were humming “God Save the Queen” in the grocery store. In other words, we were pretty much on the fringe of the party.

Where have I felt this before? Sundays.

Not all of them. But some days I come home from worship and think, “Well, we worshiped as best we could for the here and now.” We’re not home yet. And sometimes we realize more than others that this world is not our home. It’s not celebrating with us. It’s not providing what we need to celebrate because it can’t. Sometimes it’s trying to stop us. Certainly the flesh and the devil are trying to pull us away as well. In Heaven there is perfect worship already going on. Believers are already safely there, seeing the King in His beauty and glory, worshiping without sin, distraction, or earthly limitation. In a way, we’re on the fringe of the celebration, taking part partially.

Turns out that Her Majesty’s Jubilee was a good reminder for me. Believers are strangers in a strange land, celebrating the rule of Christ publicly every Lord’s Day in a world that thinks we’re weird – or worse. And the Queen’s reign is a faint shadow of what Christ’s rule is: not for 60 years and a dozen American election cycles, but forever – before any country was and after they have all ceased. The Jubilee is just a pale reflection of what Heaven will be like – pomp and lavish beauty and glory and strength and praise and fellowship and citizenship and perfect, ultimate Kingship for ever, not five days.

I couldn’t make it to London – not even sure I wanted to. But I do know that I’m going somewhere far better – my citizenship is in Heaven (Phil. 3:20).

And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.