What’s in a Name?
“Let’s start at the very beginning…
A very good place to start.” – Rogers & Hammerstein
In the forming of this idea, to write, promote, reveal, equip, expose; There arose a need to come up with some sort-of pithy name that would both pique curiosity, and draw at your heart. In case you are wondering, you are not here by accident, so, welcome to ShadowlandSojourner. I’ve been praying that you’d find us here! There is indeed a story behind this name, and just like so many other ventures, the name is birthed from experience and hope. Experience that spans a lifetime of coming to know God, and understanding that the journey is never without purpose and meaning. And hope that you will find a place to explore the mystery of Jesus final words of instruction found in Acts 1:8:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
So, let’s dissect the name and see if it will shed light on our vision for not only this writing, but for your engagement as well.
I’ll confess it right up front, “Shadowland” is a stolen word. A little over 12 years ago, a band of friends came alongside me to create a not-for-profit, designed to promote artistry. I was granted a sabbatical and decided to seize the opportunity to finally record a “solo” project. I have done hundreds of recordings over the years, but never produced one of my own. Once the recording was finished, we sold the product, performed concerts and used the proceeds to collect used musical instruments, refurbish them, and in several instances, buy and place new instruments where there was insufficient funding to do so. Over the course of the endeavor, we placed nearly 20 instruments! You can still access the recording through a number of outlets, one being Apple Music! You’ll find the link below!* The not-for-prophet has been dissolved for now, but you are more than welcome to enjoy the recording!
The term “Shadowlands” was a word found in the writings of C.S. Lewis, specifically in the last book in The Chronicles of Narnia series, entitled The Last Battle.
(Spoiler Alert!) In the next to the last paragraph, the main character of the entire series, Aslan, the Lion, is explaining to the four children what has happened to them in what was an apparent railway accident. Aslan says this, “Your father and mother and all of you are- as you used to call it in the Shadowlands-dead.”** His reference to the world in which we all live is the “Shadowlands.” Indeed, this is the Shadowland! It is a beautiful place (if you have eyes to see), as it is the place that God created for us to live and have dominion over. It is a land of shadow due to fact that since the fall of humankind, (recorded in Genesis 3), the earth is cursed. The effect of the fall makes the world a mere shadow of the perfect created reality that God intended it to be. The Good news is, God initiated a plan of reconciliation and restoration (recorded right there in Genesis 3 as well). But today we find ourselves in the “and” of reconciliation and restoration, because the reconciliation portion was finished by Jesus, his death on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead! The restorative portion happens at His second coming, when sin will be completely annihilated, and all things restored to their original design. Until that day, we live in the shadowland, it is a mere reflection of God’s ultimate reality.
By definition, a sojourner is a person who resides temporarily in a place. I always had the idea of a wanderer, even though I’m not as sure of the accuracy of that idea. The Hebrew idea conveyed by the word is one of a person, or group, who reside either temporarily or permanently in a place where they are dependent on the good-will of another who allows them to exist there. That’s a loose translation for sure, but you can see where I’m heading with this. We are all sojourners!
The other influence for the word Sojourner, was in the abolitionist Sojourner Truth. She was born as a slave in America, but escaped with her daughter in 1826. In 1828 she went to court to recover her son and is the first black woman to win that sort of case against a white man. She was a voice of truth around the time of the civil war, and was known to have spoken at Lifespring Church, which was then The Newport Wesleyan Methodist Connection, founded in what is today known as Fountain City, IN in 1843.
So, the ShadowlandSojourner will be one who understands that this beautiful world we live in is created by our magnificent Creator God, but suffers the ill-effects of the poison of sin. However, I believe that even in the shadows we can see glimpses of His intended purpose and beauty. I will purpose to write, promote, reveal, equip, and expose His creative beauty right here. And as a Sojourner, I will purpose to tell the tales of humankind around the world, in the here, near, far and hard places, as God so graciously reveals them. Won’t you come along for the journey?
*ShadowLand, For the Beauty (recording): https://music.apple.com/us/album/for-the-beauty/344861606
**Excerpt From: C.S. Lewis. “The Last Battle.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-last-battle/id1086343831