Is it ok,
to be different?
All these died in faith. They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
St. Paul speaks of Abraham and the Prophets. They lived lives of faith – holding onto the promise of what was to come, the fulfillment of God’s promises in the coming of the Christ, the Messiah. Paul refers to these men and women as aliens and strangers on earth.
Alien, stranger, and foreigner all carry the same connotation: being outside of or distinct from a group; one who does not belong to the group; a person with an emphasized difference in allegiance or citizenship.
All those who held unto faith in the coming of the Christ were that: aliens, strangers, and foreigners. They did not long for the place they had come from – looking back with regret and loss – but rather they looked forward to what was to come. They desired a better homeland, a heavenly one.
Of course God blessed them for their faith. It may not even have been a blessing they saw – for some certainly suffered. Rather He blessed them with the promise of what was to come and how their names would be held in earthly and heavenly esteem for their part in bringing it all about. God promised to prepare a place for them in the kingdom where they would sit around Him in everlasting glory and joy. We saw this last week in celebrating the Transfiguration – Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus resplendent in glory.
How does this apply to us? It applies in that it is more than ok to be different. We can and should live as aliens, strangers, and foreigners even among those who are closest to us. We are to set ourselves apart in the carrying out of God’s will, in living the life Jesus asks us to live.
We have God’s promise like the prophets and patriarchs did, plus something even greater – knowledge of the promise fulfilled in Jesus’ coming. We have the Christ with us. He lives in our bodies – from hearts that love and welcome to hands that serve, minds that ponder, voices that sing, pray, and praise. Fitting in with the world is for those who place their faith and citizenship here. Be different – only in being different do we show our faith and allegiance to God and gain His promise.