The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.Psalm 24
The world and all its people belong to him.
For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas
and built it on the ocean depths.
I am pleased to report this morning that I am excited – giddy, almost – about the fact that Rebekah and I have some international travel planned for the fall! It has been a long, dry spell for me, and when we board the plane in early October it will have been more than three years since my last flight (Czech Republic and Germany, 2019).
After an entire day at the computer and on the phone, we have successfully secured flights to the U.K., rented a beach house in East Sussex for ten days, and reserved a car for two weeks. All that remains is to decide where we will spend the last few nights.
Best of all, the main focus of the vacation will be an unhurried few days with Andrew, Alicia, and Mr. T., who will be flying in from Bahrain for a week. I predict walks on the beach, sandcastles, rides on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, and a visit to my old stomping grounds around Folkestone.
Our latest expedition, along with Rebekah’s epic adventure to Bahrain earlier this year, is possible in part due to the generosity of the saints at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church, who gifted her with airline miles and travel dollars when she retired last August 1st.
I am an American, and have been a grateful citizen most of my adult life. I grew up very British, until a planned two-week trip to the States in 1975 turned into a lifetime. But today I feel most deeply connected to my citizenship of Planet Earth.
This is partially because of experience. I am not so widely travelled as many people, but I have been to thirty-four countries (that I can remember). Then if you add the four Rebekah has visited without me, it all adds up to a fairly creditable exposure.
England, Scotland, Wales, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Belgium, Norway, Italy, Greece, Malta, Israel, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Holland, USA, Canada, Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Vatican City, San Marino, Egypt, Jordan, Mexico, Bermuda, Czech Republic (Haiti, Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain).
But the other root of my sense of being a World Citizen, first, is grown in the fertile soil of my faith as a follower of the Way of Jesus. Jesus belongs to the world. And our calling, as disciples, is to justice, mercy, humility, peace, grace, goodness, generosity, welcome, sanctuary, and community.
Yes, I will be carrying my U.S. passport. But I’d like to think God’s word will be my travel guide, and that sharing the simple truth about the beautiful, invitational, border-free, all are welcome love of Jesus will better serve to tell the story of who I am, and how I relate to my brothers and sisters – all of them.
In love, and because of love – DEREK