Isaiah 56:3 – Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying: "The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people." (KJV)
Isaiah 56:3 – Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the Lord say, "The Lord will surely exclude me from his people." (NIV)
It is quite something to be a stranger in any circumstance, be it "the new kid on the block" (at any age), a visitor to a foreign country, a tourist in a distinct cultural cluster in a city, or sitting in the pew at an unfamiliar funeral.
Throughout my life, I've experienced all these situations; the last, the most recently.
An older friend had asked if I would accompany her to the funeral of someone with whom she had worked, and it was my privilege to comply. As friends of the deceased filed in, it became clear that the only familiar faces to me were my friend and the organist. I'd not even known the deceased.
Far from being uncomfortable, I found it to be something of a gift, for I learned about a life I'd not ever known. I heard the minister's words, clear and concise. My mind didn't wander as it is sometimes wont to do amidst more familiar territory, and when the familiar part came — the hymns — I was no longer a stranger.
A beautiful example had been presented to me of how, when we are bound to the Lord, we are able to enter uncharted territory and find familiarity.
Prayer: Lord, enable us to find through You the courage to explore situations which seem unfamiliar, that we may share in new experiences, and also find that which is familiar. In Your name we pray. Amen.