So I have moved into a manse and have started the process of ‘settling in’ to a new home, new work, new ‘worshipping God’ spaces, and all the other ‘new’ that comes with ‘settling in.’ I am probably not the only one who has experienced change this September. Like me, maybe you have been ‘settling in’?
It’s a peculiar phrase ‘settling in’ – especially for a Christian. On one hand, God’s people are encouraged to remember God’s promises of a place to dwell in God’s protection (Isaiah 32:18). Much of the Hebrew Scriptures are about God leading His people to the ‘Promised Land’, establishing the monarchy, and building (and rebuilding) the Temple. On the other hand, Jesus told a ‘would-be’ disciple who was seeking a destination with Jesus that “the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20 and Luke 9:58) Following Jesus is more about the journey, than it is about finding comfort in a destination.
So how does a follower of Jesus ‘settle in’?
In Philippians 1:27, we read that struggles happen. But how do we conduct ourselves during times of struggle? I do not mean ‘putting on a brave face’ or ‘grinning and bearing it.’ I don’t think Apostle Paul meant that either. Paul was addressing a church, a plurality of people. “Conduct yourselves” – together, as a community. Which means as individuals we may struggle. We may need help – a shoulder to cry on, or a cup of tea and a natter, or space, or whatever. How we (a Christ-led community) love and support each other when “whatever happens” is part of how we share the gospel of Christ.
So how does a follower of Jesus ‘settle in’ to a new home (or school, or job, or period of uncertainty)? There are practical challenges. (For me, a lot of unpacking of boxes!) However, perhaps we also ‘settle in’ as we get to know people? We ‘settle in’ as we share our lives, as we learn how to serve Christ together. That kind of life-sharing ‘settling in’ cannot be rushed. It takes time for friendships to develop. I look forward to ‘settling in’ over the next few months, as I get to know my new travelling companions.