“Our Christianity has the appearance of being an adjunct or an appendix to the rest of our lives instead of being the main theme and the moving force in our existence…We seem to have a real horror of being different. We have lost that idea and view of life which was so forcefully stressed and emphasized by the Puritans and the founders of the churches to which we belong, the idea that life is a pilgrimage and that while here on earth we are nothing more than travelers. The fathers wrote about life in that way, talked and preached about it like that, and sang of it in their hymns in that way. They were but ‘pilgrims in a barren land’… Now this idea has almost vanished out of our vocabulary and sounds strange to us…If you have faith in Christ you will not resent the fact that life is a pilgrimage, but will rather rejoice that it is so, because you will know that the pilgrimage is but a part of your exodus — an exodus from Egypt into Canaan, from bondage into freedom, and that an everlasting freedom. Your only regret will be that it takes such a long time, but even while you are here you will know a peace of mind and comfort that no one else can possibly feel.”
-Martyn Loyd-Jones (as cited in The Life of Martyn Loyd-Jones, Murray, 2013)
This is not our home.
When I read the sentence above, when I say it out loud, when I sing it, and especially when I take time to really think about it…it resonates conflicting emotions within me.
One emotion is a tone of grief and sadness. It’s a little bit of a letdown and disappointment to realize that this isn’t our home. I’d like to think that it is connected to the deep sadness we should all rightfully feel when we realize just how broken this world is. After all, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. This was supposed to be our home at one point, right?
But I think most of my disappointment is rooted in the fact that I’ve been working so hard to fit in!
I’m supposing that this is where most of my grief over the loss of this “home” really comes from. It’s really the loss of self. The loss of esteem. The loss of fitting in and finding a place here. It’s the loss of getting comfortable and settled. It’s the loss of my desire to have a home here.
So, even though the music is fun and light, I hope that you can hear the lingering groan as well. There is a sense of loss for me in the song.
However, there is also a tone of celebration and relief!
I’ve noticed that evil, poverty, suffering, oppression, and death aren’t the only things that make this world dissatisfying. Oddly enough, even those with an abundance of pleasure, riches, and freedom still can’t seem to really settle-in. It’s just never enough.
This is not our home. Something is missing. We aren’t made for this. We are made for more.
And the amazing news worth celebrating is that, in Christ, we are promised a home. A wonderful, beautiful home. Not just a dwelling place, but a place that is rich in all that makes life worth living. A home that’s full of community, joy, peace, love, and best of all, God Himself. He is the prize at the end of our race. The One who makes a home, Home.
It’s a relief to remember that we are travelers here. But it would be wrong to interpret this relief as relaxation. While we are here we’ve been given a holy mission. We are to be ambassadors for a greater, sturdier, exceedingly excellent kingdom. We are citizens of a land that has been promised to us. And we remain for one reason, one mission, one ministry: the ministry of reconciliation.
Not Our Home is both a song of celebration and a groan of grief. We celebrate in knowing that this is not our home. We rejoice in knowing that we are making our exodus out of this world of sin and death. However, we also groan over the tragedy of this world that used to be our home and we grieve that it is still the home of so many.
As we make our exodus out of this world and into the home that is promised to us, let’s sing together! Let’s remind each other that, no matter our current circumstances, our future is incredibly bright! Let’s spur each other on to run our race well and to make the most of the days that we have here! Let’s keep each other in check, because, like the Jews, our journey may get rough and we might find ourselves longing and groaning for a return to our days of slavery. Let’s mourn together the tragic losses that do occur here because of sin. But mostly, let’s LOUDLY celebrate the good news of the gospel and it’s abundance of hope and promise!
In their own words, Jonathan & Emily Martin are a “short, traveling musical family.” They like to refer to themselves as “travel sized,” which is perfect because they have spent the last seven years traveling the country together leading worship and sharing the songs that they write.
Their ministry is called The Word in Worship, and their passion is to write songs out of what God is teaching them through the Word. With the belief that God’s Word is beautiful, powerful, life-giving and helpful, Jonathan & Emily love to use their craft of songwriting and singing to re-communicate the beauty that they discover in the Word of God. Many might make the mistake of believing that God’s Word is dull and boring; it’s Jonathan and Emily’s mission to awaken, through song, an awe of the God who makes Himself known to us through His Word. With compelling melodies and voices, Jonathan and Emily seek to encourage the Church and share the Gospel through the powerful combination of the Word and song. Their full time ministry and calling is to share these songs and lead worship across the country for church events, camps, and even living rooms. Their concert events tend to have the flavor of a “musical Bible-study.” Sharing their stories of how God’s Word is impacting their lives sets a powerful and beautiful scene for the Word of God to then be sung into the hearts and minds of all who attend.
They have released three, five-song EPs over the last several years with another set to release in the near future. Their second EP Set Your Eyes was review and featured in Worship Leader Magazine and the song Set Your Eyes from this project was also featured in the 2014 Easter edition of Song Discovery. In addition, their most recent song and project, Not Our Home, has garnered attention from LifeWay Songs and was rereleased in their 2016 compilation album titled Songs of Faith.
To learn more about Jonathan and Emily or to bring them to your church, event, or Bible-study you can visit their website at www.jonathanandemilymartin.com.