Hebrews 11: 13-16
All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.
Reflection by Duke Yaguchi
As I write this, there have been many reflections on-line, on television, and in the newspaper about the Apollo 11 mission to the surface of the moon. One of the most striking photos is that of the Earth on the horizon of the moon. It appears so small and ordinary as a part of the larger universe.
In today's scripture, people were clamoring for ownership and citizenship of a country. Migrants were escaping slavery or ridicule or exclusion. Those with faith knew that their true homeland would be in heaven, not on Earth. Today, these issues still abound.
What that photo of our little planet should remind us, is that we are in a holding pattern, until we come to the end of our short-lived trip and make our way to heaven and to be with God.
I've taken another look at both the scripture and the smallness of Earth in light of the recent mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. On the one hand, I ask why do the shooters take it upon themselves to destroy the lives of others when we are all traveling on this little planet in space? We are all tiny beings amongst a vast universe. Why do some think their ideals or positions are so important that they justify the taking of other's lives?
On the other hand, I pray that they don't think of themselves as martyrs. Great soldiers fighting God's fight, rushing their way to the promised land. A long time ago, I asked a pastor, "How can you tell the difference between the second coming of Jesus and an imposter?" His answer made total sense. The imposters will evangelize hate, exclusion, and promote the weakening of current relationships. Isn't that how cults work? They separate followers from the rest of the world? When Jesus returns, He will evangelize love, inclusion and the strengthening of more relationships. He will try and create a more unified world.
Dear God. Thank you for reminding me of the smallness of our planet, and the minuteness of our lives. Let me be a voice for love, inclusion, and the strengthening of relationships. Amen.