We never had a car when I was growing up, so transport was walking and bus. We lived in Leigh, and the neighbouring towns of Wigan and Bolton were both familiar, with Manchester being more exotic, but nevertheless part of the landscape.
Warrington, however, was never visited, neither was Liverpool, though both were just as close. Perhaps because there were no Ukrainian communities there, they were not on our ‘map,’ or were beyond the pale! Places like Pennington, the posh end of Leigh, were also beyond another kind of ‘pale,’ a place where other kinds of people live.
When my friends passed their driving tests, the world changed somewhat. Southport was accessible for an evening, and villages in Cheshire, where people even further beyond the pale than Pennington folk, lived.
But it was only when I cycled to Pick Mere, and got there under my own form of transport, that I realised that my world extended there now. I hadn’t crossed the pale, but realised that I could go there as much as anyone else.
Is living in God’s grace, knowing you are welcome in his kingdom, and that you have every right to hear his voice, experience his forgiveness, and know how loved you are, something that is part and parcel of your world? That you have entered and belong? Or do you feel like you are tiptoeing in an exotic place?
If the latter, then it’s time to stop it. The rights you have have been purchased for you by Jesus, and it is your responsibility to enjoy them, to become familiar with them, and to account for them to anyone who asks why the place you live in is different from theirs.
Get on your spiritual bike and start exploring.