Last Sunday I returned from a trip overseas. Getting onto our flight, our team got hot and sweaty unloading and reloading our baggage in 145% humidity (would you like to feel “sticky” or “extra sticky” on your crowded plane?), extra security searches (that guard should’ve bought me dinner), and a team member who was detained and almost missed the flight (a 95% retention rate ain’t too bad). And after fifteen hours in the air, jalapeno poppers for breakfast, and the very real possibility that I could feel the blood clots forming as I was wedged into my seat, I was just ready to get home.
And then we hit U.S. customs.
(If any customs agents are reading this blog, let me start by saying that’s a lovely taser you’re wearing. The blue electrical currents really bring out the sparkle in your eyes. Please don’t put me on any lists or arrest me or make me go to the naughty traveler room the next time I fly.)
There’s nothing like the melting pot that is the U.S. customs line: Wide-eyed immigrants alive with the possibility of a fresh start. Military heroes returning home to an adoring spouse and family. Smelly people who apparently are smuggling in Baby Ruths, if you get my gastrointestinal drift.
When I finally made it through the huddled masses yearning to be free, I handed my passport to Mr. Customs, who gave it a once-over and then started the following conversation:
HIM: You live in North Carolina?
HIM: What do you do?
ME: I’m a pastor.
HIM: A pastor, huh? Bible teacher?
ME: Uh, I guess you could say that.
HIM: What’s Psalm 23?
ME: Excuse me?
HIM: You heard me. What’s Psalm 23?
ME: Um…wow, it’s really early…uh…”The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in…”
HIM: Okay, okay. What’s Luke 11:2?
ME: Um. Luke 11:2? Oh yeah. I think it’s…I…Luke 11:2…something about a fig tree?
HIM: Come on, man, it’s the same as Matthew 6:9. Surely you know Matthew 6:9.
ME: Yeah, Matthew 6:9. Why didn’t you say that first? Matthew 6:9…
…I got nothin’.
HIM: “Our Father, which art in heaven…”
ME: Oh yeah! Yeah! “…hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done…”
HIM: (handing me back my passport) Have a good day, Rev.
And that, boys and girls, is why you should know your Bible. I’m just glad he didn’t ask me to say Mass for him (my priest collar was in my checked bag) or debate me on the eschatological ramifications of the pretribulationism deification of surpralapsarianism.
Although I’m pretty sure I could’ve schooled him.