A note to my readers: As I explained in my first post on Adventuring, I am posting this overall reflection as a running series of three successive posts. This will give you opportunities to pause, like stopping on the road at scenic over-looks, to read your own story into this between the lines, to reflect into more of the goodness you are discovering on your way. I hope this journey will encourage deeper awareness of the great meaning in your own pilgrimage.
If you have not already done so, I encourage you to begin reading this on-going reflection with its first post, Adventures: Beginnings, and then its second post, Adventures: Goings.
So often we are like children just splashing around in a mud puddle in the backyard, thinking we are having such a good time – when all the while what is really being offered us is a grand adventure at the seashore.
Earlier, I explored the rich matters of the why, the what, and the how of adventuring – which all lead now to its ultimate purpose…
And where is it exactly that we are going? Indeed, it is often a great hope of some “where” that leads us where angels might fear to tread. My wife and I draw our short-tent-pegs idea from one of the greatest biblical adventurers in history: Abraham. He was truly promised everything – though he saw very little of it happen in his first lifetime. Still, in this journey of faith believing the promise anyway, he lived in tents – so he could move with the living God who is the God on the move. God called Abraham from his original home, to travel a crooked road toward the horizon, over which somewhere God promised a land, which would become the home of his people, where through this people God would reveal God’s active love to the world, and through whom God would someday bring the ideal Messiah, come as the embodiment of all God’s love, to bring God’s all-renewing kingdom, to save and restore us to our true home, into life with God in God’s new creation reality, that promised land in which “thank God, almighty, we are free at last” (Martin Luther King, Jr.).
This is an adventuring epic of the most extreme, glorious, and profound proportions. One of its clues – and a key to our adventures as well if we take the time to notice – is this story is told best not with periods, but rather with commas, connecting one inseparable saga to the next, ever seeking the fulfillment of its undying quest. In God’s promise, this is about seeking our truest home, our native country (Hebrews 11). As we do, we increasingly find that we have come, are coming, and will come into God’s new city, God’s people renewed through Messiah Jesus, and into a truly renewed kingdom, God’s new reality coming on earth as it is in heaven, the new earth where God lives with us face-to-face in a fully restored paradise creation (Hebrews 11-13; Revelation 21-22). So dreaming of the stars will bring us face-to-face with the one who is the brightest morning star, the fulfillment of all our dreams. And altogether, we journey into our greatest home, where we began, for which we are made, our glorious divine destiny, to live with the God of love in a paradise creation without end.
Along this way from creation to new creation, living this adventure can discover there are already here many first fruits of the new tree of life for the healing of the cultures. For example, smelling roses budding here in February teaches us to hope the impossible. In fact, because all things are possible with God, this first creation also can still make us sing, “What a wonderful world!” (see Ephesians; Romans 8; Revelation 22 – and Louis Armstrong, with 18 million affirmations).
As one personal testimony to this promise, in our current adventure of moving cross-country, I could hear the “waves calling me home” (Loreena McKennit, “The Old Ways”). But I would have thought it more than I could hope for to live close to the beach, one of my most favorite places on earth, where everyday life on land meets the endless horizon of adventure. It turns out, it would certainly seem by what one brother identified as God’s providence, the apartment we found via the internet for our basecamp in this L.A. adventure provides a short commute to work, easy walking to important places like when I need to pick up groceries for supper, closer proximity to visit our son more often – and a short walk to the ocean! As I complete writing this here six months later, so it is again, “Our California dreamin’ is becoming our reality” (The Mamas and the Papas).
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with people…”
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth –
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God.
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God gives it light,
and the Lamb is its lamp.
The cultures will walk by its light,
and the kings of the earth
will bring their splendor into it –
the glory and honor of the cultures
will be brought into the city of God!
Then he showed me the river of the water of life…
flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb,
down the middle of the great street of the city.
On each side of the river stood the tree of life…
And the leaves of the tree
are for the healing of the cultures.
In considering these various aspects of this matter, I encourage this conclusion: Surprisingly, adventuring is about the now. It is where we have come from, and where we are going, that gives meaning to living now in this creation! So I want to conclude also with affirmation of two more priorities of the now that make this adventure so worth the while.
Adventuring is a life-style. Wherever we are – in embracing the day with a loved one over breakfast, going to work or the market or the park, greeting a neighbor on our way, volunteering some service for a higher ideal, stopping for coffee with a friend – we can seek ever more deeply into this adventure each moment all along the way. To propose just one illustration of this life-style, I encourage us to celebrate more of the blessings of culture already all around us. We can discover so much of the goodness of this journey through painting eyes, eloquent dances, poetic epics, musical longings, exquisite cuisine. And when the kings go marching in, bringing these cultural treasures to the King to adorn God’s new city (Revelation 21), we will wink a smile for how amazingly much of these wonders we’ve already experienced!
In the process, I urge us to notice something more which might well be the most amazing truth to discover on this way. Adventuring is embodied most in its heroes: common people of the boldest adventuring spirit. These are the pilgrims on the journey of faith, who believe in their bones, no matter the pain, however long the waiting, the promise will come true (Hebrews 11-13). In one real sense, indeed, the people are the adventure. Longing and learning ever more to love our loved ones. Befriending strangers found to be kindred spirits. Sharing together the hope that drives us onward, and the tears it takes to walk long enough to get there. Adventuring is a journey with fellow pilgrims. And the home we came from, the home to which we go, is also the home we are for one another on the way. In contrast to the “American Dream” which equates home with a house (and necessarily a bigger house than we can afford), in the biblical life-vision home is wherever we are with our loved ones. We make our home together, on the way, even if simply in tents. Being at home with God anywhere, being home there for one another: this is one of the deepest most glorious secrets of adventuring – the key that so often makes the adventuring possible at all. We are most blessed to do this journey with people we love…
This reflection began in Adventuring: Beginnings, and continued in Adventuring: Goings.
Readers are also encouraged to explore other posts in this series: Living Life
God so loved the world… God is love!
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth…
and the tree of life…
at the middle of the great street of the city…
and the leaves of the tree
are for the healing of the cultures.
John 3; 1 John 4; Revelation 21, 22