Today, I drove to Grand Rapids. This will be the first of two visits that are required by the Christian Reformed Church for the pilot program that I am involved with to allow me to be eligible to be ordained by the denomination while receiving an MDiv from a seminary other than Calvin Seminary.
Other than the border crossing, the trip was uneventful.
The border was really busy. It was the end of a long weekend and lots of folks were going home. I spent nearly an hour and a half in line. Once off the bridge, I was directed to the end of, what turned out to be, the slowest line. The car in front of me was searched by a pair of wandering border guards accosting random vehicles. My line was moving at 70% of the others.
Finally it was my turn.
“How are you young fella?” says a very laid back looking border guard not any older than I am.
“I’m good” I reply “and thanks for the compliment” as I hand over my passport.
“Where are you headed?” he asks, as he casually puts the passport in his reader thing an squints at the screen.
“Grand Rapids” I reply, doing the “say” as little as possible routine.
He squints at the screen some more and then asks “So, what’s in Grand Rapids?”
“What kind of conference?”
“A church conference”
“The Christian Reformed Church, I’m a full-time student”
He looks at my passport again likely looking for my date of birth.
“Wow, Where do you go to school?”
“Waterloo Lutheran Seminary”
“I was raised Assembly of God…you know, Pentecostal. My kids went to a Lutheran and Presbyterian Sunday school”
“O yeah” I say, thinking that I now know why the line moves so slowly.
“Yeah” he says, “I like reading Luther, and Calvin, and Wesley”
I start to think of what should be said next but he carries right on.
“I really like John Piper though” he says, watching my reaction.
“I know a bit about him” I offer.
“I really like one piece that he wrote” he says, “It goes like this: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.””
“That’s not Piper” I point out, “That’s answer one of the Westminster Catechism”
“On your way, and bless you” he says with a grin.
He was testing me. It made my day and got me thinking about that answer and what it means in my life and that of those around me.