People of the Train

Imagine a train rolling through the land. You see it slowly snaking through snow-covered farmland, across bay bridges, and through several cities and towns. But it keeps moving; its destination is beyond that particular country.

Then the train does stop in a small town long enough for the passengers to go inside the depot. Some even stroll around the nearby main street. They see signs on main street about an election When they talk to local citizens about the election, they listen very closely. Naturally, they empathize. But they don’t become invested in, or emotional about, the outcome. After all, the people of the train are just passing through.

That is a reasonable, not a perfect, metaphor of passing through the earth as strangers. Of course, we do get involved in the local concerns — we even vote in “their” elections. But, we certainly have no reason for anger, depression, or even disappointment. We are people of the train. Our purpose is our focus; our destination is our passion.

Yesterday morning, Scot McKnight wrote, “I can’t imagine 1st century Roman Christians getting caught up in some kind of hope whether it would be Nero or Britannicus who would succeed Claudius.”

Many people seem focused on this as “a real bad time.” They even talk about not wanting to raise kids in such a bad time. Remember that Jesus was born in a bad time. And His Life is still being born in bad times today.

His Kingdom flourishes in the bad times. Isaiah wrote that, “He is the stability of your times.” (33:6) He doesn’t need a stable time; He is the stability.

I think our views of stability, safety, and peace are illusions. I don’t think any time is any better or worse than any other.

Jesus and His Kingdom, rolling through the earth, are the real issues. We are people of the train.

The Message captures a fine word from Peter: Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. …Live an exemplary life among the natives…Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. I Peter 2: 11-14

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