WHAT’S IT TAKE TO GET IN?
Libraries of books have been written on “the Kingdom of Heaven”, and what it takes to… “get in”.
The answer to that final question of the great celestial entrance exam is in what has been said to be the most frightening text in scripture – Matthew 25. Jesus asks …did we care for the poor, give drink to the thirsty, food to the hungry, clothes to the naked?
Simple things. Little things. Almost incidental things. The text is frightening because these simple things also seem to be very difficult for us.
Jesus makes no mention of what preoccupies us most. Nothing about a test of orthodoxy. No call to state our beliefs in the Creed. No need to recite the Lord’s Prayer. There is no concern about what humankind has so often killed and died for over the centuries – the various denominational differences between us.
To us, these are the big questions. They demand our attention and answers. To us, it’s all about being correct. We must know the truth. There are literally thousands of Christian denominations – each believing it has the truth-market cornered.
These are not the questions that Jesus asks. Apparently, it would seem that so much of what we hold so dear is also so irrelevant in the end …did we care for the poor, give drink to the thirsty, food to the hungry, clothes to the naked?
Could it be that if we lived the basic principle of love that Jesus lived, if we imitated Jesus who answered every question by bringing it back to the issue of love – could it be that the differences that lead us to so easily exclude one another would fade away in the face of the love that Jesus lived and died for?
Could it be that if we would stop stumbling over the things we have in common as we hunt for the things that differentiate us — could it be that the arms outstretched in stiff defense would soften into the gathering arms of an embrace?
Could it be that if Jesus saw that we cared as much for compassion as we do for perfection – could it be that He would smile?
Could it be that the words, “Good and faithful servant” could apply to us one day?
- VBS 2023