2008/07/08

Heaven Would Be A Nice Bonus

I've been working with some people I just met. They know me better than I know them and one of the things they know is that I am religious. Probably they think I am some kind of protestant.

So one of them has been hanging around quite lot proclaiming to any who will listen that Jesus came and died so that we can all go to Heaven some day. He is just trying (in vain) to get my attention. I have been listening though.

Jesus came to Earth, he lived and died, so we can go to Heaven. That's what I am hearing. I've heard it a lot so I'm not confused. There's a quid pro quo: Jesus died = we go to Heaven. At least those of us who "accept Jesus" go to heaven. The others... well, good luck to them, eh? In any event I have not been overly amused.

I thought about it while I was out driving around this afternoon. My back in the driveway thought is that until you are willing to spend an eternity in Hell for love of your Lord, you haven't experienced Salvation at all.

Salvation.... I want to talk about that. Because it's not just salvation from Hell, not even salvation from karma. If I am not saved, healed from, and delivered out of the whole violent system then I want out. Salvation makes me indifferent to whether I am in Heaven or Hell as long as my Lord is pleased.

Remember the story I told you about Radha? She laughed at the other women who were worried that she would go to Hell. "How silly of you," she said. "If I am able to bring even a moments comfort to my Lord I would gladly spend eternity in Hell."

John Chrysostome did sort of go to Hell. He was roasted alive. And he wasn't the only one either. Lots of our brothers and sisters were burned, roasted, boiled, and worse for the sake of their faith.

There is a burning away of sin and self that happens to each of us too, if we can stand it. I don't know that it's Hell, per se. But, it's not Heaven either. Are we willing to bear it though for shear obedience, for nothing but love?

I sometimes wish it were so easy as accepting a free ticket to Disney-Heaven where I'll live forever in a kind of amusement park of eternal delights, you know, because I bought the right ticket. It's not like that though.

I am not sure I have a take-away on all that. I just hope that later, when I head back to my study and I sit quietly, waiting, that it will be for love, for sharing presence, for being. If I get to Heaven, well, that'll be a nice bonus.

10 comments:

FranIAm said...

Oh Lindy... I am so glad you are back. Your words are like a salve for my soul.

Wait- salve? Salvation? Hmmm... Are we onto something here?

Your words touch me deeply, and your use of the story of Radha and hell, beautiful.

Salvation comes from healing - not some vending machine God version of heaven.

Salvation finds its word roots in salt. Salt - preserves, heals... And gives zest and life. You know, kind of like a condiment-y Holy Spirit.

Which brings us back to your post and the idea of quid pro quo and something about "religion" that I find upsetting.

If I do this, this and that, God will love me - yay! Then I get to go to heaven - yay!

Maybe not so much. The Kingdom is here, now. Instead of doing this, this and that so that vending machine God deposits a one way ticket to paradise in some future time, I think I would like to try to just love now.

Whatever happens next - well I will roll with it. How can I not when I am in community with someone like you?

I have gone on far too long here.

Thank you for a beautiful and wise post.

Diane said...

yes, I'm glad you are back too, with wise words about the place of heaven in our lives....

except I do have a funeral on Thursday (again) and not heaven exactly, but eternal life will figure in there somewhere...

Presbyterian Gal said...

Yup, I am glad you're back too.

Diane said...

Lindy, I'm so glad you are back that I have given you an award

Jan said...

Lindy, I'm glad you're back. I loved you making comments about my grandpuppy Troy!

I go crazy with the "salvation" business. No magic words (like "Jesus") make the difference--our hearts, our awareness, our focus do. The journey is NOW.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

i'll confess i didn't read your post as thoroughly as perhaps i should have... i mean heaven and hell are weighty topics and all...
i was too busy playing with the jackson pollack widget...

Padre Mickey said...

As the only male here, I want to say that I, too, am glad you're back.

I once had a kitteh name Radha.

bgclick said...

and you know your fan in St. Louis is too. :-)I only tell you that because I know you won't let it go to your head. LOL

akhf said...

Oh wow Lindy - you nailed it for me. I also like what Rabia al Basri says:
"O Allah! If I worship You for fear of Hell, burn me in Hell, and if I worship You in hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise.But if I worship You for Your Own sake,grudge me not Your everlasting Beauty.”

Grandmère Mimi said...

Lindy, welcome back, love. My first thought is that if salvation is for the sweet bye-and-bye, that's a problem for me. I want it for now, right now, every day for my very survival. The sweet bye-and-bye, whatever it is, will take care of itself. I don't think about it too much.

I hope that, for me, salvation is about love, loving God who loved me first, God who loved me into being, and because I love God, loving my neighbor as myself.

You're right. If we please God, that's what counts.

Beautiful writing, Lindy.