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Citizenship

by Linda Wasilkoff
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
 

Some time ago, I filled in the necessary forms to apply for Canadian citizenship. It has been an interesting process from start to finish. One surprise was the many parallels between this process and the process of becoming a citizen of the Kingdom of God.

First, there were many months of waiting. Similarly, it requires a lot of waiting for the Kingdom to arrive. We know that ultimately it will and we hope it will be soon, but still don’t know exactly when it will be!

Just about two weeks before the Feast, I received a letter informing me that I had an appointment for an interview. I was not asked if it would be convenient for me, but just given a time. The letter said that if I didn’t show up for that appointment and didn’t call with a valid excuse, the application would be discontinued. Talk about pressure! Likewise, we need to be ready for the return of Christ – we will not be given the opportunity to schedule a time convenient for us.

During the several hours I had to wait on “interview day,” I had plenty of time to think and reflect. I realized that what I said to the interviewer and how I said it would be used to determine if my application was legitimate. The best course of action was to be honest – thankfully, that is something the church has taught us well through the years.

As a citizen of the United States of America, I had mixed emotions about applying for Canadian citizenship. However, after living in Canada for so many years I strongly identify with Canada. Then I wondered what my emotions would be regarding becoming a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Would there be something that would pull me back and make me hesitant to fully commit to that?

Once the interview was over, small groups were called into a smaller room. There we were given the day and time when we would become Canadian citizens. There was one caveat – the judge would review each application and would reserve the right to require more information if he was not satisfied with the documentation given. Our spiritual Judge reserves that same right.

Before leaving the room, we were given final instructions as to what we needed to bring on the day of the citizenship ceremony. What I found interesting was that there was also a dress code. No jeans or running shoes would be permitted. People were instructed to wear business attire. We know the parable of those who were turned away from the wedding supper because they were not wearing appropriate attire. Church services also have a dress code.

With this as a backdrop, many of the Feast messages were put into a different light for me this year. I was looking forward to a new citizenship in the World Tomorrow. Right now I am doing the preparation work – filling in the application forms as it were. I’m studying the history of God’s Kingdom so that I know and understand what is required.

The day scheduled for my citizenship ceremony was six days after the Feast. On that day, each person participating in the ceremony was assigned a seat, given a Canadian flag and lapel pin. Later I discovered there were 105 of us from 32 different countries.

The court clerk then explained what would happen during the ceremony. He required everyone chewing gum to get rid of it before the judge came into the room. We were asked to stand when the judge entered the room. Why? To show respect to the authority of the court. Likewise, we stand when there is a prayer at church. When we are home, we usually show reverence to God by bowing our heads during prayer. We know that He can hear us even if we don’t, but it is a symbol of our respect.

As each of us went to the front of the room and received our citizenship papers from the judge, he and the rest of the dignitaries congratulated and welcomed us as a new Canadian citizen. Many people came from third-world countries and were overwhelmed with emotion. It gives me a slight indication of how great the emotion will be when we are all welcomed into the Kingdom of God!

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