Time For God: June 9

Written by Paul Beckingham

Focus: Genesis 4:16
Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden.
Born in Tokyo in 1937, Sachi Komura Rummel spent her childhood in Hiroshima. She was eight years old and playing in her schoolyard. Next, the unimaginable happened. Just 3.5 Km away, the atomic bomb exploded. Her father’s death resulted in her most tender loss: My father loved his daughter dearly so I was constantly spoiled …My name, Sachi, means “Happiness” in Japanese. He gave me this name wishing me to be a happy girl all my life …My father was my idol. Sachi was removed from her father’s presence in the wasteland of a nuclear holocaust.

Celtic Christian believers understood exile. They set their hearts on pilgrimage. Peregrination—journey, voyage, expedition—involved accepting privations, discomfort, and danger. For them, that was the normal Christian life. As pilgrims, they carried and declared the Gospel of Christ.
Pilgrimage is an exterior journey. The Pilgrim leaves familiar worlds—by choice, or by force—for unknown destinations. Pilgrimage is also an interior journey. Pilgrims leave a distracting familiar world for unknown challenges …and frequent isolation. Exile accompanies each kind of journey.

The model for pilgrimage is God’s call to His followers. The pattern begins with Abraham, Moses, Joseph and other Old Testament heroes. God’s instruction initiates their pilgrim expedition. The pattern culminates in the birth of Jesus. He dwells in exile among us. He sends his followers out on pilgrimage. God sends Paul to the Gentiles; He exiles John on Patmos.

Closing her harrowing story, Sachi shares her faith in her Eternal Father. I am convinced of a God who is always beside me, and always guiding me. This is my rejoicing. I am full of gratitude. I thought that I was holding onto my life all the time with my own efforts but I realized that living in this world is in God’s hands. He is always beside me with His mercy, love and grace.

Today, a Pilgrim template shapes our lives. Missionaries at home and abroad are called to go. All believers are called to be missionaries wherever God has placed them. In rebellion, Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. Jesus promises His abiding presence to His followers; the Holy Spirit seals the promise of God’s presence.

In lonely moments, how has God assured you of His presence? Where is He in your story today?

Abide with us, O Lord, for it is toward evening and the day is far spent: abide with us, and with thy whole church. Abide with us in the evening of the day, in the evening of life, in the evening of the world. Abide with us and with all thy faithful ones, O Lord, in time and in eternity. (Lutheran Manual of Prayer)
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