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Stand By for a Gate Change Annoucement!

28/10/2011

‘Stand by for a gate change announcement’. It was around ten years ago, and I had caught an overnight flight from the USA to Amsterdam. The plane had landed around five o’clock in the morning and the Belfast leg of the journey wouldn’t begin for another four hours or more. I sat in an uncomfortable seat, surrounded by crowds of strangers and drifted in and out of sleep. Floating in and out of my mind was the constant repetition of this one phrase, ‘Stand by for a gate change announcement…’. It was repeated endlessly in Dutch and in English thoughout the morning.

It was a timely warning. There was going to be a message given, and it was a message that should not be missed or ignored. There was going to be a departure, and failure to head the message would be disastrous, for when the departure time would come, the traveller would be in the wrong place, at the wrong gate, and perhaps even be taken to the wrong destination.

For me, it was one of those now meaningless phrases which etches itself into the mind, and never seems to fully go away, so that at the strangest of times it suddenly pops up again. It happened again a while ago. I’d awoken on the morning of a day that would change my circumstances and perhaps my life. My first waking thought? ‘Stand by for a gate change announcement…

But maybe that’s not so meaningless, really. Jesus used gates as a kind of visual aid, a parable to remind us of the eventual departure that we all must make from this world. He told his listeners that there were two gates. One is a wide gate, a popular gate, a gate that’s easy to through. The other is a narrow gate, chosen by only a few people, because it’s not so easy to take this way. But the wide, easy gate leads to destruction, and the narrow difficult gate leads to life. Which gate will we choose? Will we go down the road to the broad gate of popular modern philosophy or will we walk in God’s ways, following Jesus, who said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, no-one comes to the Father, except through me.’

So let’s stand by for a gate change announcement. There’s a departure ahead for us all. It would be a tragedy if that happened and we were waiting at the wrong gate!

From → Evangelism

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