The Heart Posture of the Pilgrim

In the last post I mentioned that the title of my blog: “tolerated sojourner” makes for some great heart-ink. A kind of pilgrim heart-tattoo, so to speak; something that helps me to remember (and to keep remembering). But why would I want to continually remember this expression? Well, for one thing, as I’ve already mentioned, it serves as theological shorthand for one of the most important applications of the covenant doctrine. Covenant theology itself is something to which I ascribe the highest level of importance. Added to the clarity that it brings as I seek to understand and interpret the scripture, its application in the covenant pilgrimage has always had a deep effect on the posture of my heart. So, as I bring this series of posts to a close, allow me to wax eloquent for a second, as I try to explain this to you in the most personal and poetic language that I can muster.

Confessing that I am a tolerated sojourner means that I remind myself of the great pursuit of this life: I journey to the land of the Great King. But it also reminds me that I pursue this kingdom in weakness and not strength. At no point can I ever take my eye off of that fiery cloud and pillar. Ever singing the heart-refrain, “I need Thee, oh I need Thee”,  I call forth to the Strong Deliver to lead and protect me, until this journey is through. As a New Covenant pilgrim, I have no earthly weapons of warfare, and find no support in the strength of the horse. I seek no collision with the powers that be, but restfully know of their ultimate subordination to the God who directs my every weary step. My triumph is all in the Saviour. I find an oasis only where he is preached and his presence is administered. For the moment then, I have a land to aim for, a dusty road to walk, common-mercy to enjoy, and oases of gospel-refreshment to discover and experience. But my eye is always set on Canaan, and my hope is always this: one day Jesus will return, and I will see him in the flesh. Then, everything will be different, and all will be as it should be. 

A Pilgrim Heart-Tattoo

In the last few posts I’ve been explaining the basic idea behind this blog’s name (‘tolerated sojourner’).  We’ve covered a bit of ground at this point, seeking to show that this expression is something that captures the tension of the biblical worldview itself. As exiles and sojourners, our eyes are always on the land: the blessed hope. But this hope must be set against the realities of time in which we now live and the land through which we now sojourn.

I’ve also mentioned that, in accordance with my aim for this blog, I feel that this is the perfect paradigm through which to write. However, describing this theme merely in terms of an overarching paradigm, would be to sell it short. So, I want to round up by saying that this is more than a paradigm for me. Much more. It is a truth that always serves to bring me into spiritual focus and set my heart right as I move along in the journey.

Maybe, at the end of the day, this is the real reason that I wanted to give the blog this title. It serves as a kind of theological shorthand, and keeps the truth constantly before me. Perhaps even more, it serves as a pilgrim heart-tattoo. Negatively, for fear that unless permanently held before my eyes, the memory might slip away. Positively, because to dwell on this theme always leaves my heart in a good place, and leaves my mind with a clear sense of perspective.

What do I mean? Well, in the next post I’ll say a bit more about this.