Today I received my new passport. It's beautiful. Every page is a work of art, clean and untouched. My old passport from ten years ago had run out of pages. As I turn through them a flood of memories and experiences are held in a simple stamp or visa sticker. There are ornate visas for Germany, France, Russia, and Burkina Faso. The visa for Burkina is good until 2018, and I wonder if they'll transfer it to my new one. Entry and exit stamps litter page after page: many from France, and others from Hungary, Switzerland, England, Italy, Guernsey, Finland, Ireland, Denmark, and South Korea.
A passport represents identity. I am so much more than a name and number and issue date and a plain photo with wavy blue lines over it. A passport reflects what you do. I have done much more than slide my passport across a counter to immigration officers in various countries. The spiritual analogy is beautiful here. How much does anyone know about us, or we even know ourselves? Jesus is the discerner of hearts, knowing our deepest thoughts, desires and motivations. God sees what we do, even when we think we're alone. This is all scary and wonderful. He knows us, the real us, the depths of us, to the most intimate detail, and he loves us. When someone says their citizenship is in heaven, what could be more true? The US government knows my name, age, social security number, height, color of eyes and hair - I have to admit, I broke down and put grey this time. They know enough to issue me a passport. God knows us, sees our thoughts, weights our hearts, measures our faith, and gives us a new identity in Christ. To the church in Pergamum Jesus says that he will to the one who is victorious a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
Ever wonder what your name really is?