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Fellow Citizen

"My brother, you're a fellow citizen." The man at the South African embassy had spoken to me kindly and candidly. I was impressed. And touched. "Brother." Mfowethu. That's nice, I thought, as I hung up. There's something about being abroad that gives you a deeper connection with other Saffas. When you step out of the borders of SA it's like you get an internal radar that picks up on any South African accent. Even the most subtle mention of biltong or braai can be picked up in the busiest of city streets or crowded subway. There's a Longing that grows each day you spend beyond the borders of home.

Today's Heritage Day in South Africa. We celebrate our common heritage as South Africans by celebrating our diversity: Black, white, coloured, Indian, Asian, Eleven official languages. Braaivleis, chesa nyama, pap, briyani, rooti. Oh ja, today's also called Braai Day! You bet there'll be a lot of fires burning today around the country to get some meat on the grill. Man, what I'd give to stand around a braai today with friends and family!

Instead, I'm still in quarantine. It's day 7. It's been fine, I keep busy. But today, I woke up to a playlist of Miriam Makeba, Johnny Clegg and others. Bad move. Images of Home flash through my mind on a reel: Backyard cricket with my brothers, rusks in the morning with coffee, hiking in the veld with friends. It's the life, bru! Funny how discontented we can be when we're home, but once we leave, the Longing begins.

I love South Africa. I think that much is clear. It's home. But I have an even Greater Longing in me that no amount of braaivleis can satisfy. "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ," writes the Apostle Paul (Phil. 3:20 NIVUK). Paul doesn't write to tell us to long for the day we'll go home to heaven, rather he shows that Christ will one day bring Home to us on Earth as it is in Heaven. We're exiles living in a strange land, but we await with Longing the New Heavens and the New Earth. In the meantime, we live as citizens of Heaven in a world that isn't as it should be nor as it will be. But we take heart, having Christ, the Hope of Glory, in us. Someday the Great Longing too will be satisfied when He comes. To borrow a Jewish phrase: Perhaps next year in the New Jerusalem!

Walk with the King... He's coming!

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Amen bru.... The New Jerusalem, our final destination... Our Eternal Home where we will be Walking with The King daily!

Thank you for the beautiful writings - stay blessed as you wait out the remainder of your quarantine.

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