educate equip enable
I recently met a couple who are avid travellers.
In the last ten years, they have visited over thirty different countries, across each continent.
They have had both five star and no star experiences.
In listening to their adventures, I asked if there was a single stand-out memory which eclipsed all others.
With no hesitation, they gave a resounding "YES!"
It happened in London, towards the beginning of their time overseas.
One evening, while out socialising, they fell into conversation with a man who was keen to know their impressions of Britain, and of London in particular.
They were still at the stage of being overwhelmed by the rich sense of history all around them, so spoke with genuine enthusiasm.
Towards the end of the evening, he asked if they would be interested in seeing inside the palace, and the royal throne in particular.
They laughingly said they would, but treated the invitation lightly, thinking he was just trying to impress a pair of gullible tourists.
The next evening however, he turned up at the same venue, wanting to know if they were ready for their tour.
Deciding they had nothing to lose, they went with him.
Now the royal palace is guarded around the clock by impressive looking grenadier guards.
They are chosen partly for their height, and when wearing their Busby, and an inscrutable expression, they are truly formidable.
They mean business too, and no-one gets past them without the proper checks and authority.
When my new friends arrived at the palace gates, they expected that they would be turned away, but to their amazement, they passed through unchallenged.
It was the same at each of the security checkpoints.
Finally, they asked their guide why they weren't being asked for I.D. or checked in any way.
His answer: "Because you're with me."
They passed through a series of magnificent rooms, each more splendid that the last, until they were quite overwhelmed by vaulted ceilings, ornate decoration, and lavish works of art.
At the door of the throne room, however, their guide came to a halt, explaining that even he couldn't allow them in there.
As they finally went back to the real world, they thanked their host profusely, but couldn't resist asking who he was.
That's when they learnt they had been personally guided by the head of security.
As I listened to their story, I couldn't help wishing that I had been able to see those fabulous sights with them.
Suddenly it occurred to me that I have a Guide who is so much better than theirs, because He has unlimited access even to the throne room of God.
There are no doors closed to Him, and because I walk with Him, I too have access to the very presence of God.
Not because there is anything special about me, or because I "just happened" to bump into Him.
I can enter boldly into the presence of God, with confidence that I will never be turned away, because Jesus has gone before me.
Where I am unworthy, He has made me worthy.
Where I am ashamed, He has cleansed me from guilt and shame.
It is at the price of His life being given, His body broken, His blood shed, that my acceptance has been guaranteed.
And I can go back there whenever I want to.
The price has been paid.
Today, as we take this cup and this bread as symbols which remind us of His sacrifice, let's pause for a moment to thank God for what He has done for us through the cross.