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There was in my dormitory, a foreign student named George. A stocky boy, with curly black hair and a very loud voice, that he more often than not, used with vigor. George was having a problem and he came to me to see if I might be able to help him. As his “RA”, he asked me to come with him to the registrar’s office to help him handle a problem he was having. Basically, the issue was that the registrar’s office was requiring him to submit a copy of his birth certificate, and of course, George didn’t have it. Apparently, neither did his parents, back in Greece. He was beside himself and was getting louder and louder. They tried to say it was protocol to ascertain any student’s identity, and that his “conditional admission” was predicated upon the submission of this document. She said, “Without it, we don’t know who you really are.” He was terribly frustrated and mumbled, “I am George,…can’t you see me?”
It seemed that George was lost. He would have to go back to Greece to have another birth certificate issued…. He was deeply depressed. So we went back into the registrar’s office and asked to speak to the supervisor of the counselor to whom we had been thus far speaking. When the lady came out, I was careful to speak in glowing terms of the counselor’s professionalism, but suggested that perhaps a formal appeal could be made that would suffice at least temporarily on the strength of his passport and the student visa issued him by our national government. We were dismissed, with the promise that it would be considered.
The next day, in campus mail, George received a letter from the registrar’s office. Our terms had been accepted on the premise that he would provide the document at his earliest convenience. As an aside, George went back and forth over the summer breaks and never did return with his birth certificate. Whenever I would ask him (feeling a bit responsible in the matter), he would simply smile and say, “Look at me, I’m still George.”
In this sermon we shall explore how exactly we might show our heavenly citizenship, so to speak, as we look at Nicodemus perplexity over being told that he had to be “born again” or “born from above.” Who we are, from God’s perspective is confusing for us.