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  • Ross Moughtin

Will they let us in?

Updated: Jan 24, 2022


Today a day of mild anxiety as we fly home. Will we get stuck on the motorway? Will the car rental person try and rip me off? (see blog 15 May, 2015) Will we miss our flight by being held up in security? In other words, the usual hassles and the ever-present threat of things-going-wrong.

But this year, an extra layer. Will we be found to have broken the tough Spanish COVID regulations? And worse, will our our passenger locator forms work? If not, will we be be escorted, handcuffed and hooded, to the UK Border Force Black site in Stretford, never to be seen ever again?

Even as the UK government relaxes its necessary restrictions to international travel, it is still not easy-sailing (or flying.) Coming here, it took a good hour on my computer to acquire the necessary QR codes to enter Tenerife. Same yesterday, filling in our PLF online. I guess for many people, an insuperable obstacle. It would have been easier to stay at home.

And that's the problem, it is so much easier, less stressful, to stay at home. One of the consequences of the lockdowns is that so many of us have developed a mild form of agoraphobia, preferring to stay within the safety of our own boundaries. Even a journey out to a new place becomes somewhat threatening - and so why bother?

However, as Christians we are called to push out the boundaries, even to cross the most forminable of frontiers. Secure in our relationship with Christ, surely we have the confidence, like Abraham, to step out into the unknown - if that where he may be leading us.

For here we are called to be risk-takers because God himself, so to speak, has taken the greatest risk of all in sending Jesus. Would we respond to his incredible gift? The apostle Paul shares with us his sense of amazement: "(Christ Jesus) had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what." (Phillipians 2:5, Message translation)

It was Jesus who crossed that most impermeable boundary of all, the frontier between heaven and earth. For love.

And so this is the calling of all Christians, prepared to cross any boundary for the love of God. And of course, boundaries are not necessarily geographical.

So what's stopping us? Essentially our insecurity, or more precisely seeking our security in the familiar. And we have a real problem if we don't realise this, when we simply cannot see what may be holding us, limiting our movements.

It was the legendary Marshall McLuhan who observed that "once you see the boundaries of your environment, they are no longer the boundaries of your environment ."

So Jesus in his ministry was continually challenging his disciples to see and cross boundaries, The one which separated Jew from Samaritian was especially significant, spiritual as much as geographical.

Maybe it was so ingrained into the minds of the disciples that they simply didn't see it - they were so used to taking the long detour travelling from Galilee to Jerusalem, just to avoid entering Samaritan territory. It was how they were brought up; everyone did it. For as John informs his readers, without giving an explanation: "For Jews do not associate with Samaritians." (John 4:9)

So in parable and in practice Jesus challenged this particular boundary to the extent that for his final journey to Jerusalem he deliberately went through Samaria rather than around it.

And in his charge to his disciples as he ascended to his Father he deliberately includes what was for them a no-go area: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8).

In other words, keep stepping out, cross that boundary marking your own personal comfort zone. For we read in the book of Acts how the Holy Spirit kept on pushing the fearful followers of Jesus, even into Samaria! So following the death of Stephen we read:" On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. (Acts 8:1)

As blogger Erik Parker observes: "No matter how much we love rules and cling to boundaries, God will always be willing to break and cross them, in order to love us more."

So where is God pushing you? Which particular boundary is holding you captive, preventing you from sharing the love of God? It may be that we need to ask him to open our eyes so that we can actually see our own Samaritian border. And so decide to go through border control, boldly and with every confidence that this is where God wants us to go.

The good news is that if this is where God is leading us, no need to show your passenger location form! Just walk straight in! After all we serve the God of heaven and earth, nowhere is beyond his soverighty.

Now Airside

Well, you will be relieved to know that the motorway was clear, easy return of hire car, just breezed through security and now with plenty of time for our flight home. Just hoping it takes us to the right airport!

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¡Hola!  Well, here we are again in Los Cristianos, on the southern tip of Tenerife, for our annual vitamin D fix. And like this time last year I am sending this blog from our favourite waterfront café

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