local columnist Michele Huey

Michele Huey's column appears every Saturday. Email comments to michelethuey@gmail.com

“I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved.” — Jesus, as quoted in John 10:9 (NIV)

When our son gave us tickets for a Pittsburgh Pirates home game a number of years ago, I got online to see what we could and could not take in. It had been quite a while since Dean and I had been to PNC Park, and I wanted to review the rules.

Hubby and I aren’t big spenders, so we rarely purchased concession stand food. Oh, I know it’s part of the ballpark experience, but our wallets can stretch only so far. We usually packed a cooler with a picnic lunch. One time we munched on sandwiches on a grassy, shady spot not far from the ballpark.

A few days before the game, I Googled “PNC PARK” and clicked on the information page for food and beverage/gate policy.

A hard-sided cooler was out, but we were allowed one soft-sided bag each, no larger than 16-by-16-by-8 inches. No ice packs or cooler inserts. Sealed, clear water bottles no larger than 24 ounces were allowed, but not carbonated beverages, sports drinks, cans or thermoses. Bags were subject to be checked. No surprises there.

But there was a new policy that semi-surprised me: Every person had to go through a metal detector before being allowed in the ballpark. It was similar to going through the security checkpoint at the airport, except you didn’t have to take your jacket, belt and shoes off. And you can keep your wallet, keys and watch. But your cellphone, tablet, laptop and camera had to go in a tray as you walked through the detector.

In light of today’s world, this was for the safety and protection of everyone who attended the game.

Someday we’ll all stand at the gate of heaven. We won’t have to worry about taking food in — indeed, all who enter will enjoy a banquet of unimaginable proportions. And we won’t need any of our electronic gadgets. Everything we need for our eternal life will be waiting for us in the dwelling place (some versions use the word “mansion”) Jesus said He’d prepare for us (John 14:2).

Although we won’t have to pass through a device that detects things that aren’t allowed in (see Revelation 21:8; 22:15 — in short, sin), we do have to pass through the one and only gate that will allow us in: Jesus Himself.

“I am the gate,” He said. “Whoever enters through Me will be saved” (John 10:9).

“I am the way, the truth, and the life,” He said. “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

And again: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12).

Walking through the gate of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all the sin that would keep us out of heaven.

Have you passed through the gate? Have you gotten into the game?

Thank you, God, for providing the way into Your home. Amen.

Read and reflect on John 10:7-11.