Being the people of God, we have an interesting identity and status in the world. Jesus said we are “in the world” but “not of the world” (John 17:11, 14-16). Peter says we are “foreigners” and “sojourners” (1 Peter 2:11), and so does the writer of Hebrews (Heb. 11:13). The psalmist says that each of us is “a stranger on the earth” (Psalm 119:19). (So guess where our name comes from??? . . . Duh!)
Although we are all Sojourners, Jesus is present with us now through his Spirit and he assigns us responsibilities for the time we spend on earth: we are to be his “witnesses” (Acts 1:8); we are to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19). Among ourselves (i.e. in the church) we are to “love one another” because that is how we show ourselves to be his disciples (John 13:34-35). We are a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” established for the purpose of “declaring the praises” of our redeeming God (1 Peter 2:9). We fellowship together regularly to worship, pray, and celebrate the work of Christ through Holy Communion (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor 11:23-26; Heb 10:24-25). We actively teach, admonish, forgive, correct, encourage and submit to one another (e.g. Eph 5:21; Col. 3:13, 16; Heb. 13:17, etc). (Actually, it’s an interesting study to look up all the “one another” commands in the New Testament!)
We, the church, are the body of Christ. We are the ongoing mystical presence of Christ in the world. We are the instrument of grace through whom God loves and blesses his world. We are to be characterized by faithfulness, generosity, fruitfulness, diligence … (seriously, this description could go on forever – e.g. Rom 12:9-21). We are given the Holy Spirit as the presence of God with us (John 14:17). The Spirit empowers us to to know the love of God (Rom 5:5) in a way that “surpasses knowledge” (Eph 3:16-19). It is in his strength that we overcome our sinful natures (Rom 8:5-9, Gal 5:16) and live godly lives (Titus 2:12). The Spirit also gifts us for the work of ministry (1 Cor. 12:7-11) and produces fruit in our lives that transforms our character (Gal. 5:22-23). We, on the other hand, are not passive in this process. Jesus says that anyone who wants to be his disciple must “deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34).
At Sojourn we attempt to hold all these realities in balance. We teach, reflect and meditate on the richness, the complexity, the wonder and the privilege of all that we are in Christ, how we live in Him, and how we walk with Him.