It is always a wonderful feeling to land in the United States. I love to travel and experience new places, cultures, and ideas. I love to meet new and different people. But the greatest part of international travel is returning home. I didn’t even mind the long line which awaited me to validate my passport. As I stood, walking through the marked boundaries for U.S. Citizens, threading through the mazes, I looked at the people around me. On the other side of our line is a different line for non-citizens. Their paperwork is different from mine. Their requirements are as well. As I moved up to the officer’s desk, he stamped my passport, “Welcome home, Mr. Franklin.”
Welcome home. Wow! Those are nice words to hear when you’ve been away. For those of us who are Christian, those are the words we will hear when we cross the threshold of Heaven. Do you ever wonder what it will be like to go home to Heaven?
I’ve been gone for nearly a week. And there is much pressing on my heart to share with you regarding my trip; but for now, I am simply rejoicing in the goodness of God.
While in Belgrade, I visited a magnificent Cathedral called The Orthodox Temple of Saint Sava Belgrade. It is the largest Orthodox church in use today in Belgrade. It’s name is actually a dedication to Saint Sava, the founder of the Serbian church. It sits perched above the Sava River and its magnificent domed cover is visible from all approaches into the city. As I entered the building, I felt exhausted. The meetings and discussions I had experienced weighed heavily on my heart. My body felt worn-out physically from the time change, emotionally from the issues, and spiritually.
This church had seen its troubles too. Belgrade was bombed in 1941 during WWII and construction on the Temple ceased. The Germans used the erected building as a parking lot. Later the Red Army took over the area and used the church for the same thing. As I took in the elegance and artistry, I thought of the heart aches of all those who had entered this place. How the walls must cry out in pain for all that it has seen; and yet, I felt the presence of God; slowly, rejuvenating my weary soul. Some 5000 miles from everything I know, my family, my friends, and my church, the familiarity of it felt like home.
With my passport stamped and cleared through security, I found my way to the luggage and to my car. I do not know what it will be like when I enter Heaven; probably very similar to what I feel now minus the luggage.