Wednesday, February 24, 2010


So here I was today going through the metal detector at the county courthouse feeling a bit like a criminal...but no, I wasn't here for a court date but merely to pick up a copy of my birth certificate.

"Fill out the green card"

So I did; name, date of birth, city of birth, father's name, mother's maiden name... As I wrote their names an inexplicable sadness settled on me, and then swiftly deepened as I realized that, in the eyes of this office, the entirety of my life was reduced to the thickness of two sheets of paper; a birth certificate and a marriage license. My parents have lives three sheets thick as a death certificate is now also a part of their records...

Is that all a life is; one, two or three sheets of paper among the one, two or three sheets of the other three hundred eight million six hundred eighty-five thousand current people living in the United States?

It was sobering.

And then I found out that there is something wrong with my certificate so it has to be found and sent from the warehouse downtown...the instant mental picture was like something from Cold Case -a huge building filled rows and rows of metal racks stacked with cardboard file boxes containing hundreds of pieces of paper apiece and mine being in there. . . somewhere. . .

I'd been reduced to two sheets of paper, and one of those was missing...
Obituaries give me this same despondency; how that a person's entire life of many decades is reduced to "Spouse of…, survived by..., Chairman of bake sales and 40 years spent at XYZ company making widgets."

depressing isn't it?

I'm working on a biographical study of the life of John the apostle. In his gospel six times he refers to himself as "the one who Jesus loves.". Now in my research the intellectuals have been volleying questions for decades, "Who was the beloved disciple? Was it John? Was it another? Was it the author of John? Did someone else author John? If this is John why would he refer to himself in this manner?"

I don't need a thousand page textbook to tell me that answer, nor I suspect do you. Why would someone refer to himself as "the one who Jesus loves"? Is it pride? Are you shaking your head too because you know such a reference is the furthest thing from pride but more akin to amazed incredulousness?

The one that Jesus loves…

I am one that Jesus loves.

No matter the “thickness” of my life assessed by the County Office, or the length and content of my obituary I am one that Jesus loves.
Even though there are three hundred eight million six hundred eighty-five thousand people living in my country and hundreds of millions of official record papers that mine is lost among, the fact remains that I am loved by Christ.
I am not lost to him.
I am the apple of his eye (Zechariah 2:8) and engraved onto the palms of hands (Isaiah 49:16). He hears my prayers (Psalms 116:1,2) and is attentive to my needs.
He loves me with an everlasting love (Psalm 103:17) and has called me by name (Isaiah 43:1 ).

Birth certificate or not, He knows my name (John 10:37) and it is written in the Lamb's Book of Life; because of the blood of Christ my name has been written in the Book of Life...!(Rev. 21:27)

Who cares what the county says?! :)


Michelle G. said...

This was such an encouraging post! Thanks for sharing your gift of encouragement and writing with us all.

the j. crew said...

that was a really good post. You are very gifted in communication.