I must admit that I’m happy in what author Mark Sayers calls “Non-Places.”(1) These are places where I have access to my digital world. Music downloads, podcasts, and my favorite T.V. dramas. Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook (even though Facebook can be stressful!) are ways to escape the harsh realities of the real world. A good book and a coffee shop is my idea of contentment. I like to escape reality and retreat to my comfortable world. In this world, we do not have to interact with people face to face.
While these things can be good in moderation, they can also dry out our souls and distract us from God.
The early Christians had to face the stark reality of death daily. The early Church, for the most part, was fearless. While I’m in no hurry to die and leave all my comforts – they lived like pilgrims, just passing through.
The Church Father John Chrysostom wrote, “We are strangers and sojourners. Let us not grieve over any of the world’s painful things. For if you come from a renowned country and from illustrious ancestors, and find yourself in a distant land, known to no one, having neither servants nor wealth, and then someone insults you, would you grieve as though these things had taken place at home? The knowledge that you were in a strange and foreign land would persuade you to bear all easily and to despise hunger, thirst, and any suffering. So consider that you are a stranger and a pilgrim, and do not let anything bother you in foreign territory. You have a city whose builder and creator is God, and the journey is but for a short and little time. Let whoever wishes strike, insult, revile. We are in foreign territory, and live there in difficulty.“(2)
So instead of losing ourselves in this digital utopia we have created – maybe we need to let go of it – just a little. It might be a good idea to consider ourselves foreigners in a strange land. And seek God for a heavenly and eternal perspective on life.
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” – Philippians 3:20 (NKJV)
(1) I recommend Mark Sayers book, Strange Days: Life In The Spirit In A Time Of Upheaval.
(2.) Learning Theology With The Church Fathers, Christopher A. Hall, page 198.