By the Revd Dr Peter Sanlon
By definition pilgrims journeying towards the celestial city have committed to their destination. We want to get to heaven. As Hebrews describes us, we ‘desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.’ (Heb. 11:16)
A traveller who is determined to make it to the end of their journey has to make numbers of commitments during their journey. Without these we will not make it to our destination. We must be committed to the Faith. The great truths of our religion must be understood, cherished and held to. The Faith has been handed on to us. It is summed up in the Apostle’s Creed. Focuses upon the persons of the Godhead and the turning points of creation and recreation.
We must also be committed to a local church – a this worldly outcrop of the heavenly kingdom. A congregation requires us to prioritise turning up on the Lord’s Day and usually at some other weekly gatherings – perhaps a prayer meeting or homegoup (Heb. 10:25). Real commitment will involve more then mere presenteeism. It will involve a sacrificial loving commitment to the people and well being of a congregation. Sometimes there will be conflicts between the call to meet with God’s people and other events — which will help us see how real our commitment to church is.
These commitments which help pilgrims journey to heaven distinguish us from an age that revels in its lack of commitment. Freedom from ‘ties that bind’ as Springsteen sang marks out a generation that is supremely rootless. Why do believers make commitments to these beliefs and belonging? They often cause us inconvenience and difficulty in this world.
The reason is that only by making these commitments can we genuinely be committed to our Lord and Saviour Jesus. The Faith commitments we hold dear draw us in faith towards Christ. It is through our devoted commitment to doctrine and church that Jesus sustains us for our journey to see him face to face. Let’s stay committed and keep journeying.
Rev. Dr. Peter Sanlon is rector of Emmanuel Anglican Church, Tunbridge Wells: www.emmanuelanglican.uk