OK so this morning I really felt like this verse in the Message Bible was for me:
Out of here! Out of here! Leave this place!
Don’t look back. Don’t contaminate yourselves with plunder.
Just leave, but leave clean. Purify yourselves
in the process of worship, carrying the holy vessels of God.
But you don’t have to be in a hurry.
You’re not running from anybody!
God is leading you out of here,
and the God of Israel is also your rear guard. (Isaiah 52:13-15)
Now it could be because my house will soon be demolished… which is unsettling but was always on the cards – so I guess it would be preferable for me to leave than for the lovely landlords to forcibly remove me as the tractors roll around the corner. But there is other resonance in this verse, because something in the back of my mind says we are all pilgrims.
Now, when I say the word pilgrim, I think of Kermit the frog with a pilgrim hat on, so I thought I would turn to an expert for help here. The definition in the free dictionary online for ‘pilgrim’ is:
I think the Kermit image is tapping into the English Separatist thing right there. So maybe it’s best to lose the muppet connotation altogether – and use the word ‘sojourners’ as an added descriptor. ‘Traveler’ is also something that makes sense to me, being a very typical Aussie who has put her feet on various countries all over the world in the hope that doing so will make sense of her young adulthood.
Now I’ve met lots of people who were born, raised and died in the same village (English, German, Australian villages usually) and never saw the inside of a plane. In fact, I feel quite privileged to have travelled so much. But there is something inside every one of us who is “embarking on a quest for something conceived of as sacred”. We are all searching, as Bono sings “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”. And so, I guess this scripture is appropriate to us all.