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Real ID both governmental, spiritual

Time passes swiftly. Ready or not, the hands of time propel us forward into a future filled with uncertainty, yet never void of purpose.

October 1, 2020, is a date in time which will greet us sooner rather than later. On this date, “The Department of Homeland Security will require a REAL-ID…driver’s license/photo ID Card marked with a Gold Star, or another form of federally-acceptable ID to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building or military installation” (PennDOT Document).

Identifications are important. IDs inform others about who we are as we engage in daily travels. Proof of who we are helps us enter social events and secure financial purchases with greater ease. Conversely, where identity theft is real and potentially catastrophic, proper (real) ID brings safety and security.

For Christians who align themselves with The Reformation Movement, the Feast of the Transfiguration (of our Lord) was observed recently. The occasion ushered in the Season of Lent. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus’ real ID brings affirmation, security, and safety to the lives of Peter, James, and John (three of Jesus’ disciples).

We ponder scripture when Jesus was transfigured in a brilliant display of illumination and light. As his clothes dazzled white on a mountain top location, the disciples witnessed Jesus’ appearance alongside Moses and Elijah. Moses, the lawgiver to the people of Israel, and Elijah, representing the prophets of old, gathered with the Christ in one place.

At this moment, Jesus’ real ID was re-established as the long expected, long awaited Messiah uniting Israel’s past with future hopes and promises. Later, Jesus turned his sights to Jerusalem and Mount Calvary. On the Mount of the Transfiguration, the Kingdom of God arrived (again), with all its power and authority as past, present, and future are re-united.

We learn that the Kingdom of God is complete. What followed at the scene was the voice of God, from the clouds. We also hear the clear whisper, the profound words: “This is my son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” The Feast of the Transfiguration confirms the real ID of The Kingdom, along with the favor God affirms for all people. This is Good News.

Whenever a real ID is established, whether from Homeland Security or any other government agency or community initiative, awareness of it brings purpose and completeness to the endeavor. Everyone benefits from the minimal inconvenience, which captures first our attention and then action.

In the spiritual life and journey of faith, the same truth applies. Jesus’ real ID is renewed and re-established through Divine initiative on that sacred mount. His ID reminds us who God in Christ is for us and all humanity: a brilliant source of Light, Love, Forgiveness and Hope.

As we study this act of grace through faith, may we share this same grace in all we say and do throughout global villages everywhere.

Lent is a good time to reflect on these matters of faith.

The Rev. Dr. Ronald Shellhamer is ordained through ELCA, a former missionary, he is presently serving both the Lutheran and Presbyterian traditions.

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