I hate to pay for parking. We probably could have found something on the street but the cars and people were everywhere. We were barely moving and I was afraid we might not make it if we wasted too much time. So when a man in a baseball cap waved me in, I took the spot. Fifteen dollars was a small price to pay for peace of mind.
The afternoon sun was going down in the west. It was a beautiful evening for a concert in the park. I was with friends from church and we were having a good time. Yet, as we made our way to the gate, it seemed like the whole world had come out to hear a message of hope.
The line appeared to extend for over a half mile. Everyone was excited. There was a buzz in the air as we slowly inched forward. I don’t know if it was because the Christian group Crowder was playing or if they simply wanted to hear Franklin Graham’s message. Regardless, the enthusiasm and joy in that slow-moving crowd was contagious.
At one point we reached a bottleneck where the line that had been mostly two or three deep began to flay out. Even though it appeared that there were multiple points of entry ahead, everything came to a sudden stop as bags were being checked and people admitted one by one.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, an angel appeared. I call her an angel because of what she did for us. She noticed Judy, the oldest member of our party, and invited her to bypass the crowd and to make her way to a special entrance for older attendees. When Judy said she was with a group, she waved and called all five of us to come along.
I couldn’t believe our good fortune. Because we were with Judy, we scooted past the large crowd and entered through a narrow passageway. We jumped to the head of the line. We were screened, greeted and welcomed. It was like having the FastPass at Disney World, only better, because we were there to praise God.
It’s been said, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Our faith tells us that on judgment day we will all stand before God. The Bible tells us that having Jesus at our side will make all the difference. We will be ushered into the kingdom of heaven not because of anything we did. It will be because of him, and what he did on the cross.
So stay close to Jesus. You can’t go wrong. He will bless you on the path of life and he will get you through the gate when your time comes. Praise God!
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.