Citizens of Heaven
Over the last several weeks I have spent many hours going through the process of transferring all of my documents from New York to Pennsylvania. I first called Geico and transferred my auto insurance to PA (and was in the process informed by a kind gentleman that my premium would double as a result, for reasons that are still mysterious to me – but was assured that Geico values my business. Great.) Having done that, I gathered my proofs of identity and residency and made my way to the DMV to obtain my PA driving license, whereupon my much fancier NYS license was sadly voided. Then I made my way to an Auto Tag place to get a PA license plate, only to be told that I needed to have my Title. So I drove home, got my Title, and returned to the Auto Tag place. And then I learned that to avoid paying a state tax, I had to wait six months from the date the car was gifted to me before going through the process, and the six-month mark was four days away. So the following week I returned yet again to the Auto Tag place and finally did the paperwork and got my PA plates. And then I went shopping on Pennie (Obamacare PA-edition) for health insurance, since I don’t get health insurance at work and was previously relying on NYS Medicaid which would be voided as soon as they learned I officially moved to PA. Tomorrow I have to go to the mechanic to get my PA inspection done so that my car is legal on PA’s bumpy roads. Soon I will cancel my NYS Medicaid to avoid a fine. Oh and I registered to vote here in the process, but the Board of Elections has yet to mail me anything, so I will likely have to follow up on that soon.
I did all of this, of course, because when it comes to the law, I typically do things by the book, and most importantly of all because of the health insurance situation. But because I tend to overthink everything, and because this whole situation, which stretched across several days and cost me dearly, had gotten me quite irritated, I began to reflect if I could learn anything from it. And it turns out that I have felt quite rebuked in the process, not for my irritation, but for the fact that it dawned on me that I took this transfer of residency from NYS to PA much more seriously than I took my transfer of residency from the Kingdom of the World to the Kingdom of Heaven. There is, of course, no paperwork or waiting in lines or up-front financial cost involved in becoming a Christian (except in those unfortunate churches which are run like businesses), but there most certainly are legal and practical changes which must be implemented. I have been living in PA for the last three and a half years, but not as a legal resident because I was a student here and my permanent address was still in NYS. So I was in PA, but not of PA. And what about me as a Christian? Am I merely positionally in the Kingdom of Heaven because of my faith and repentance, or am I truly of the Kingdom of Heaven because I am actually in line with its precepts and laws?
So I thought about some of the marks that are supposed to characterize those who have transferred their citizenship to the Kingdom of Heaven by their faith in Jesus: love (not mere tolerance) for enemies, hatred (not mere regret) for sin, sacrificial (not grudging) generosity, ceaseless (not five minutes a day) prayer, love for God (love means deep affection), renouncing of Satan (and all his works), rejection (not embrace) of false teachings, etc. etc. When I look at a list like that which I compiled off the top of my head in less than one minute, and then think about how much more is required of me as a Citizen of Heaven which I cannot now even remember, I fear that I still look much more like a worldly underling than a Citizen of Heaven. I have not gone through the spiritual equivalent of going to the DMV, the Auto Tag place, the mechanic, and Geico’s call center. I have merely moved to PA and live in limbo, not quite sure where I really belong, NYS or PA. I must go through this process immediately. I must pray, fast, give, love, serve, forgive, repent, believe, read, and so much more, not that I might earn my salvation, which Christ freely offers, but that I might finally enjoy the blessings of living as a Citizen of Heaven. And what about you? Have you completed your paperwork into the Kingdom of Heaven? Or do you still have documentation from the Kingdom of the World? We must be those who hate even the garment stained by the flesh.