Speaker: Jerry Cisar
In his book Your Church is Too Safe, Mark Buchanan points out the difference between travelers and tourists. The root of the word travel is travail. It references the toil and labor, the difficulty, of being on a long journey. Tourists, on the other hand, are there for pleasure. The root of the word tourist is turn. Tourists don’t sojourn in a land not their own, they visit for enjoyment and turn around and go to the next stop or just go home.
Peter has identified the saints in Asia minor as sojourners and exiles (2:11), travelers who stay for a while in the foreign land but never become assimilated into it. In a world where people have a natural fear of strangers, we are called to remain strangers to this world. This must, of course, always inform how we treat the literal stranger or resident alien.
There is a danger for the audience. The instructions which began in 2:11 addressing us as strangers and aliens, and end in 4:11 with “Amen” are given to a people who once “were not a people” but now are “the people of God” (2:10). How do a people who have spent their lives not being a people, live as the people of God – sojourners and pilgrims – without falling into their old patterns of doing life as “not a people”?