In an airport lounge...

I write this in an airport departure lounge, and I am surrounded by life in miniature.

Huw Williams | 12:25, Monday 12 March 2012 | London, England

Everyone is here temporarily – eating, drinking, glancing at ever-changing screens for new information as to when and where they will take their leave. Brightly lit shops look to cash in on our boredom (or our forgetfulness) offering a bewildering range of electronic gadgets, sunglasses, books, magazines, souvenirs (classy and otherwise), toiletries, clothing, perfumes, internet access, watches and video games, while overpriced food outlets tempt us with pre-packaged sandwiches and reheated burgers for a small fortune.

But our lives are united for these two hours by the shared experience of passing through... We are kings and queens in a perfectly transient palace.

As I sit here, sipping a coffee (trying not to be a coffee snob), I type these words into an electronic device that I don’t expect to be working in five years' time. I take in the vast range of the gathering; the businessman traveling alone, the young family herded by harassed-looking parents, the couple with matching fringes who could be honeymooning. So many languages and accents come into earshot, pass and disappear again in a few words. And all the time (if you have ears to hear it) the almost-good jazz muzak plays and plays and plays, on and on in an endless cycle. (I always feel for those musicians, always heard and never listened to.) Yet we all have one thing in coming, we are travelers. We come from who-knows-where, we are going to who-knows-where, who-knows-why and for who-knows-how-long. But our lives are united for these two hours by the shared experience of passing through. Even the people who work here will travel miles at the end of the day to get out of the airport perimeter. We are kings and queens in a perfectly transient palace.

I think back to what I did before I got here. On the train this morning, I read (in a Bible I have owned for 21 years) the book of Ecclesiastes. I suspect it was no coincidence. Of all the things I don’t understand in that intriguing little book, one thing is abundantly clear, that life is short, transient, and of very little significance when lived without relationship with God. Before that I spent two days in reunion with friends from Cor Deo. It was a beautiful time of great fellowship and mutual encouragement, of good memories and strengthened friendships. As someone (I can’t quite remember who) commented, we get these little glimpses of heaven at times like these. We might all be travelers, our lives may be as vapours, but as I return home to my own most precious reunion this side of eternity, I do so more thoughtful and more thankful to our heavenly Father who has put us on the most glorious homeward journey we can possibly know.

Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (John 17:24)

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