Last week I went to Islands of Adventure/Universal Studios Orlando with my son Ragan. (He was in early for a conference and I was finishing up a week of my work there.) We purchased our (entirely too-expensive!) admission tickets and proceeded to the entrance. Not really cognizant of the folks ahead of us, it did seem it was taking a while for them to maneuver through the turnstiles.
As it became our turn to scan our ticket and our finger-print (where does that information go?!), the gate attendant exclaimed “Oh, thank God you’re an American. I can understand you.” Ragan and I both chuckled at this as we passed through, not because of any ill feelings toward the world’s visitors ahead of us, but because of the one who had made the statement. She was a very pleasant southern-Asian woman with a definitive accent!
She, too, at one time had ventured from her homeland to “the land of promise” and found a home here. At some point, I assume, she too had difficulty with the language. But, here she was now recognizing that verbal communication is limited when one doesn’t know the language.
This moment in my journey last week allowed me to pause and reflect on how I am no different than she or the park attendees entering ahead of us that day. We all are strangers in a distant land at times. Orlando is a city in which the whole world converges. Anywhere you walk you will hear languages other than English being spoken. Yet, there we were all together to enjoy the same things: fantasy, thrills, Harry Potter World, roller coasters! With just a quick observation of those around, one notices that folks were from all walks of life. No one’s status, language or religious affiliation awarded them special privileges. We ALL had to walk through the maze of queue lines to “enjoy” those 47.6 seconds of “thrill.”
My God doesn’t look upon my or anyone else’s status, color of skin, nationality, political affiliation or language spoken to determine whether we can enter His Kingdom. We all enter the same way: trusting and believing. And I would add what the entirety of Scripture says, live like you do. So, isn’t it great that God will not say, “Thank Me, you’re an American; come on in”?