In just a little over six weeks from now, my family will be boarding a plane and heading to the Feast of Tabernacles in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We have never traveled internationally for the Feast before, and there has been a little bit of sweating involved in making sure all the “i’s” are dotted and the “t’s” are crossed. It will be my daughter, Sarah’s, senior year in high school, and the preparations for the Feast feel a bit more poignant than usual as I realize that our family will forever look different in another year’s time.
Our passports came this week, and as I checked through each one to make sure that the details for each family member were correct, it hit me that we were really, really, going to be able to get on the plane. Our passports had arrived in time. Our airfare has been booked for months, our rooms paid for, and our passports now received. Our destination has been secured. In six-weeks, we will be Feast bound.
Holding our passports in my hands, it hit me what incredibly important documents they are. They are a physical proof of our citizenship as Americans. They are in essence our “tickets” to be able to travel in and out of the country safely. They are tangible evidence that we have the right to board the plane and enter a foreign country; a country that we have spent much of the past year looking forward to visiting, but a country in which we are strangers. Our passports are physical proof of who we are and to what country we belong.
Our True Identity
According to Wikipedia, “A passport is an official travel document issued by a government that contains a person’s identity.” If only understanding our identity was as simple as holding our passport in our hands.
We live in a world that is searching for identity. We can look around us and see people moving through their lives, not understanding their true identity… not knowing that they were created to be future sons and daughters of God (Romans 8:14-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18).
For those of us in the Church of God, called out of the world at this time, we know our true identity. We know that God’s promises are true and faithful.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10). We also know and take great comfort in knowing that there is hope for the people in this world who seek an identity.
The Feast of Tabernacles (FOT) is a part of God’s plan of salvation for all of mankind. The FOT is one of seven annual festivals given in Leviticus 23:2, 39-43. Each festival points us to a specific purpose in the plan of God. The Feast of Tabernacles specifically points us toward the time of Christ’s thousand-year reign on earth after Satan is bound (Revelation 20:4-6). These days are a reminder each and every year that Christ will return to establish His Father’s Kingdom on this earth, there will come a day when the enemy of this world has been vanquished (Revelation 20:1-3), and we, as God’s people, will have the opportunity to help rebuild a broken world.
A Light in a Broken World
Yes, we live in a broken world (Ephesians 2:1-2), and we, too, were once a part of that brokenness, but we have been called out of it (verses 3-10). As God’s people we have been given the incredible opportunity to serve mankind both today and in the future millennial period. Today, we have been called to be a light to the world (Matthew 5:14). Rather than hiding behind closed doors and waiting for the end to come, we are encouraged to go outside, open our doors, and “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven” (verse 16).
In order for our neighbors, coworkers and community to see our good works, we must have good works, and we must be doing those good works where they impact those who are around us. While we are to begin with the household of faith (Galatians 6:10), we also need to serve those whom Christ came to serve (Luke 5:31-32).
I have often told my husband that God is calling broken people out of the world and into His Church, and it seems that our job is to learn how to put all our broken pieces together and become a family. The challenge for us is not to use our brokenness as license to cut each other up in the process of becoming a family. Rather, we are to grow, overcome and change into the image of our Heavenly Father. We are not to stay in our brokenness, but overcome it . . . overcome sin (Colossians 3:5-10). Once we overcome sin, we are given such beautiful promises, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:21).
Proof of our Citizenship
This year as my family travels to the FOT internationally for the first time, and I hand my passport to the agent to prove my identity, I pray that more than my physical identity, I will remember my spiritual identity and the incredible spiritual calling I have been offered…that all of us traveling to keep the Feast have been offered. Through the calling we have received, we have the greatest passport, the greatest proof of citizenship, that we could ever hope to attain. Our job, while at the Feast and afterwards in the living out of our lives, is to make sure that our Heavenly Father has no trouble determining our citizenship.
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).