On March 14, we were like “two ships passing in the night,” in the Guatemala City airport as Beth and her team were checking in to ticketing to leave Guatemala, at the same time that our team was arriving. There is no crossing over from the “departures” side to the “arrivals” area, and there wasn’t even an opportunity to wave at each other through a window. To be that close to my daughter in a foreign country and not give her a hug was pure torture.
When traveling out of the country, one’s passport is a traveler’s most precious possession—even more valuable than my aerosol hairspray, which was confiscated at the new Indianapolis terminal. I didn’t carry this document with me to the clinic site or while sightseeing or shopping, but I was always a bit anxious when it was not on my person.
While I tend to be a worrier in my normal life, beyond the U.S. borders I develop the mind of a Stephen King. What if our bus is ambushed by bandits, we’re robbed and abandoned on the side of a winding mountain road, without currency or documentation? Or what if a volcano erupts and…
Even more important than a passport issued by our government is our spiritual passport, given to us by God: GRACE. We are birthed into grace when we are born, for God’s grace permeates everything. It’s like air which is necessary for life, but we can’t see it. Or like water to a fish: invisible, but essential.
No need to purchase this passport: just say “yes” to God’s free gift of grace. While not tangible or visible, you can “feel” and “see” it in the way a grace-filled person demonstrates grace to those around them. This spiritual document can’t be lost or stolen. There is no expiration date; no need to renew it or pay for it, and then wait ten weeks for it to arrive in the mail. And, best of all—no ugly mug shot that you’re stuck with for ten years; our image is a reflection of Christ.
As we observe Holy Week, remember that the events of Christ’s last week of life—his entry into Jerusalem, the Passover meal taken with his disciples, his passionate prayers in Gethsemane, his arrest, beatings, trial, conviction, crucifixion and burial—were all a part of God’s plan to redeem us. Our passports are stamped with Jesus’ blood.
On Easter we celebrate God’s unlimited, uncontainable, unrestrainable Grace, as demonstrated in our Savior’s resurrection.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
Ephesians 2:8 NIV