Pelham Road Baptist Church
A Different Kingdom
By John Roy
I am not a frequent flyer; infrequent and reluctant best describe my emotions about air travel. Recently, however, I needed to fly. Air travel was the first, final, and obvious choice. Hesitant and leery, I boarded my flight in Atlanta.
As I boarded the plane, I remembered why I didn't fly. The crowded conditions, the flight delays, no legroom, the baby crying next to me, and the belief that if God wanted us to fly, we would have wings like birds.
On an airplane, there is "first-class" and then the rest of us. I suppose "business class or economy class" is a polite way of saying "below first class." Whether the airline uses the word or not, "second class" is the way I feel. When I walked through "first-class," I knew what Johnny Cash was singing about in Folsom Prison Blues. Johnny sings about those folks on the train "eating in the fancy dining car, smoking big cigars." We hear him lamenting about the indulgences of those who travel first class while the rest of us sit elbow to elbow and eat our stale pretzels.
When I walked through "first-class," the first thing I noticed was the legroom. In "first-class," you can actually put your legs in front of you without your knees hitting you on your chin. The seats recline, too. I know they say the seats in "economy" recline, but when you recline your seat in "economy," you are in another passenger's lap, and it has the spooky feeling of being in a dentist's chair. In "first-class," the seats really recline, and the person behind you is not sticking a drill and a light down your mouth.
Of course, I can lament about "first-class" all I want. I am only whining. If given the opportunity, I'd move up to the front of the plane. If I had the money, I'd travel "first-class." It's not the people in "first-class" fault they have leather seats. They work hard and deserve their legroom, nice meals, and leather seats. I really shouldn't envy them for doing well. I imagine, however, that what really bothers me is I am envious of those upfront living the high life.
Airline travel, for all of its shortcomings, is the perfect antithesis of the Kingdom of God. In God's kingdom, there is no economy class or first class. There are no privileged characters. No one gets seated early. No one gets more legroom. This equality may bother those of us raised in a world with such disparity. We are accustomed to a world where distinctions are made. When our sensibilities are familiar with priority seating, God's way can seem a bit scary and even wrong.
God's kingdom is about equality. No gender is superior to the next. Males and females are equals. Some want to believe women are to be submissive and junior partners, but in God's new world order, men and women are equal partners. No race is superior to another, no color is inferior, and no ethnic origin is more advanced than another. Even when it comes to sin, we are equal. In our world, "this" is more sinful than "that," but in God's new world order, a lie is as bad as being unfaithful in marriage. In fact, unfaithfulness is only an unspoken lie.
God's kingdom makes us all equal. In God's eyes, we are all important enough to ride in first class.