“I am in exile, a sojourner, a citizen of some other place. All I’ve seen is just a glimmer in a shadowy mirror, but I know, one day we’ll see face to face.
I am a nomad, a wanderer, I have nowhere to lay my head down. There’s no point in putting roots too deep when I’m moving on, not settling for this unsettling town.
My heart is filled with songs of forever, the city that endures when all is made new. I know I don’t belong here. I’ll never, call this place my home, I’m just passing through.
I am a pilgrim, a voyager. I won’t rest until my lips touch the shore, of the land that I’ve been longing for as long as I’ve lived, where they’ll be no pain or tears anymore.
My heart is filled with songs of forever, a city that endures when all is made new. I know I don’t belong here, I’ll never, call this place my home. I’m just passing through.
What does this mean to me? I add the to me, because I in know way claim to have some kind of insight, or knowledge of what prompted the author (Dustin Kensrue) to write the song. I do know, that Dustin is a Christian, and I do believe that Christ permeates through his songwriting, so I’m going with that. There’s a verse in the bible, Hebrews 11:13, that I believe may be the impetus for some of the words penned. The verse goes “all these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on Earth” NLT. Aside from the exact verbiage (nomad), I believe that the prevailing themes of this verse, are shown throughout the song. The verse itself is found in Hebrews 11, which refers to the “Heroes of the faith” within the bible. This particular chapter is giving some highlights of past Israelite’s faith. Beginning with Abel and his complete submissiveness in his sacrifice to God, and running through the Judges of Israel, and the trailing prophets. The verse itself, is directly referring to Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob. Verses 8-10 say ” It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. Abraham is known for being the father of nations, and for even going as far as offering his son as a sacrifice, because that’s what God commanded. But before things got that far, he was called to leave everything. This alone was an enormous test of faith, but then, he didn’t waltz right in, set up a tent, and begin his legacy. He was forced to wander through many many towns along the way. The song could be referring to Shechem, or Egypt, Bethel, Ai, or Sodom (where he spent time rescuing his nephew). You get the point, he moved around a lot. The more I’m studying this, the more I’m thinking it’s possible that this song is actually written about Abraham, but like I said, there’s no definiteness in a speculative piece.
“I am in exile, a sojourner, a citizen of some other place. All I’ve seen is just a glimmer in a shadowy mirror, but I know, one day we’ll see face to face.”
The tone for this entire song is set in the first six words. To be in exile means to be cast out. Abraham was actually cast out of Egypt, but I believe when he’s referring to being a citizen of some other place, he’s referring to a place not of this world. The glimmer in a shadowy mirror is a concrete image of an abstract concept. It says that The Lord called Abraham. Instead of giving us the voice in the wind, Dustin paints the picture of a man shown variables, but not the final equation. He still has faith, and knows that one day (time not determined) he will see God face to face.
“I am a nomad, a wanderer, i have nowhere to lay my head down. There’s no point in putting roots too deep when I’m moving on, not settling for this unsettling town.”
The verbiage in this verse is what originally caught my ear in regards to verse 13. They were “Nomads and Foreigners here on Earth”. Abraham and his family had physical places to lay their heads, but, in a metaphorical sense, they weren’t resting. They knew that just as soon as they arrived, they’d be moving on again. It’s important to look at the language Dustin uses when he says “not settling for this unsettling town”. He changes the tone of the wanderer. To take a line from Tolkien, “Not all who wander are lost”. This is applicable, because the wanderer is choosing to not settle. The wanderer knows that better things await, so there’s no point in settling anywhere other than their ultimate home.
My heart is filled with songs of forever, the city that endures when all is made new. I know I don’t belong here, I’ll never, call this place my home, I’m just passing through.
I’ll just speculate and expound upon some thoughts here. The songs of forever refer to the eternal. God and Heaven extend upon forever and ever. Revelation speaks numerous times of all creatures (in Heaven, and….. otherwise) singing the praises of the lord. There will be constant praises and singing in heaven. The city that endures, would be heavenly as well, all things being made new refer to the transformation from death to life, that takes place when people receive Christ. 2 Corinthians 6:17 states “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” NLT. In a literal sense, the rest of the chorus could refer to Abraham never tying down, in a metaphorical sense, it refers to all of us, not being content on a planet that isn’t our eternal home.
“I am a pilgrim, a voyager. I won’t rest until my lips touch the shore, of the land that I’ve been longing for as long as I’ve lived, where they’ll be no pain or tears anymore.”
The song contains one more verse. If we choose to refer back to Abraham, he was looking for the infamous “promised land” that the Israelites continued to look for far after Abraham had left this Earth. It was a land that was said to be “flowing with milk and honey”. Personally, I like the imagery presented by the lips touching the shore of a land filled with such treats. Bringing it full circle back to us, believers long for a place where the burdens and struggles of this world are lifted off their shoulders, a place without pain or tears. Revelation 21:4 speaks of this place “he will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” NLT. So umm… there’s that.
So what’s the point of doing all this? Why sit down and type these words that maybe no one will read, maybe one person will read? In the end, it’s not for me. Every second I spend here, speculating on what God is saying through Dustin Kensrue, is a second I’m not spending being selfish or impulsive. I’m not doing anything self immolating, or self destructive. Maybe it isn’t a prerequisite that we sit in a trancelike state and wait to hear God speak to us through a burning bush. I can only hope that what I’m doing here is beneficial. I’d like it to be beneficial to me, but if it’s beneficial to anyone else, then all the glory goes to God. Without him, I wouldn’t have a sisters laptop to borrow.