Listen: Stephen Liggins in conversation with Stephen O’Doherty.
Australians really seem to love travelling. Maybe our big country makes us unafraid of long distances. Perhaps we just accept that our isolation from the rest of the world means a long plane ride if we want to explore Europe, Asia or America. With our reputation for being relaxed and friendly, we might simply love a good holiday. But in our rush to see the world, it could be that we forget the impact, for good or ill, on our spiritual life.
The ‘big overseas trip’ has become a rite of passage for many young Australians. However, it is not just the dream of the late teens and early twenties. Lots of us have itchy feet and want to get moving, either around Australia or around the world. Families save hard to afford a trip and older people plan to travel in retirement. However, not many Christians, of any age, think about how they will manage away from their usual circle of Christian fellowship, or in the absence of familiar worship and prayer routines.
A huge amount of time, money and energy goes into the trips we take. We compare prices, make itineraries and count off the days before we leave. We think hard about what to pack and can get fairly consumed by the whole process of travel. That is all part of the fun (or the drama), depending on your approach to life. Do we put the amount of effort into the well being of our faith while we are away from home, that we put into snagging the perfect seat on the flight?
Did you forget something?
Amid all those check lists and things to do before, during and after a trip, do we consider that, as Christians, we are trying everyday to walk with Christ? Do we make packing our Bible as important as taking enough socks? Do we prepare ourselves spiritually for the journey? Someone who has thought deeply about those questions and what it means to travel as a Christian is Reverend Stephen Liggins.
Travelling as a citizen of heaven
Stephen has travelled a lot, starting when he was an aspiring professional cricketer. Over the years he has enjoyed visiting many places around the world and has produced a lovely book about the joys and pitfalls of travelling as a Christian. ‘Travelling the World as Citizens of Heaven’ takes its title from one of the Letters of St Paul (Phil 3:20) in which he describes believers as ‘citizens of heaven’.
Stephen Liggins told Stephen O’Doherty on ‘Open House’ that he hopes that it will serve as a useful guide for Christians. He believes it is essential we think wisely and biblically about the what, why and how of overseas travel as a Christian.
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