Thought for the week – week 03

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How do you show who you really are?

I’ve just sent off for a new passport, and I had to go to great lengths to prove my identity. I sent in my birth certificate, driving licence, bank statement, electricity bill, payslip and a couple of photographs signed by a reputable witness, so that the agency issuing the passport can be sure about my name, nationality and address.

I suppose it is right that the people who issue official documents take real care to avoid false or misleading claims. However, I don’t have to prove my identity to my family and friends. They don’t need to see a passport or driving licence. They recognise me by my appearance, my words and my actions. Quite simply, they know me.

We don’t need documents, letters or certificates to prove who we are to God. He knows us already. We’re part of the family.

‘Lord, you have searched me and you know me,’ the Psalmist says, and Jesus promised: ‘Everyone who my Father gives me will come to me. I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.’

We’re known, we’re loved and we’re included because Jesus has done all that is needed to make us welcome. Simply by coming to him in faith we are guaranteed a welcome. His is a kingdom with open borders and no immigration control.

Loving, welcoming and including people as Jesus did should be the hallmark of his friends as well. We are supposed to be recognisable by our love. ‘If you have love one for another, everyone will know that you are my disciples,’ Jesus said.

Since he said that to a troublesome, argumentative and diverse group of friends, he knew what a challenge that would be. But in God’s kingdom you don’t need to show your passport – you just need to show your love.

Rev Richard Baxter,

Fort William: Duncansburgh MacIntosh and Kilmonivaig Parish Churches