National Checkpoints and Boundaries

As my husband and I travel in our ministry, most of the time we fly. In the process, we encounter many checkpoints – passport checks, immigration checks, custom checks, etc. These checkpoints mark a boundary between two countries: either the country of our residence or the country where we are traveling from to the country we are traveling to. Each country has a specific form that must be filled out on entry with information on the person who is traveling – the foreigner. Even though people at the checkpoints speak English, it is still obvious we are entering another country.

Although we mostly travel by air, we sometimes use a train or drive to another country. When we lived in El Paso, TX and traveled to Mexico, long lines at the border were stark reminders that this was a boundary.

There was a time when car travel in Europe meant going through tedious checkpoints at national boundaries. Now many who are part of the European Union can travel freely from one country to the next without being stopped, but the physical checkpoints are still there as a reminder of the boundary.

When traveling by train from one country to another, even if the train does not stop at the border, officials enter the train and check your documents. Boundaries exist for security reasons. We have observed people without proper documentation being removed from our train.

I learn a lot by watching people in airports and train stations.  I hear many languages being spoken around me. As I pass through the check out lines, I observe the variety of colors in the passports people are holding in their hands. Even languages and passports are a type of boundary.

Once we are through the checkpoints, have collected our luggage and are joined with our partners in ministry, there is great sense of relief. Boundaries no longer apply. We are part of the family of God, no matter what country issued our passports. I am not a foreigner in their homes or churches. There is a bond. It is a blessing to be part of a worldwide family of God where boundaries do not exist.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). There is one body and one Spirit. . . one God and Father of all (Ephesians 4:4, 6).

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