"Having a blog is like wandering around your house naked with the windows open; it's all very liberating until someone looks in the window. However, while being caught unawares is one thing, it is quite another to stroll up to the window and press your naked, flabby body against the coolness of the glass in a hideous form of vertical prostration for all the world to see..." These posts are the smudges that are left behind on the window.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Swearing at Jesus

When I was about 12 I had a tobogganing  accident right before Christmas. It left me on crutches for the entire 2 week break with torn ligaments in both my knees. My Mom and I would usually spend Saturday afternoons together. Typically she would bake bread, and I would play. When the buns started coming out of the oven I would  try to scoop out the middle of a bun, while it was still warm, and eat the soft gooey mass with lots of butter. While this was going on we would normally listen to the radio - to a show called Unshackled. They were usually stories about how down-and-out people finally reached the bottom, and, through some miracle or other, would suddenly make a decision for Christ.

The Saturday I was on crutches was no exception.

My Mom was baking bread and I was playing on the floor with my Lego while we listened. I don't remember the story that day, but I do remember thinking that maybe I needed to make that decision for Christ myself. Perhaps it was the accident that got me thinking that my life was finite and I should do this before it was too late; I don't know. But, I do remember thinking that I didn't want to go to hell, so I said the prayer (to myself), that ended each show, and asked Christ into my heart.

There's an old evangelistic tool where, if you are trying to convert someone to Christianity, you ask them; "If you were to die tonight and God were to ask you why he should let you into heaven, what would you answer?" The proper answer is something to the affect that Christ died for your sins and that you had accepted him into your heart.

Case closed.

These days, this is how I see that whole scenario playing out.

There's a line of us waiting our turn to talk to Jesus. Eventually it's my turn, so I walk up to Jesus as he stands behind a small table with a large book on it. "That must be the Book of Life with all the peoples names in it that are allowed in" I think to myself.

"Name please"

Jesus runs his finger down the page. Leafs back and forth a few times. "Hmmm...."

"That can't be good" I think to myself

Then Jesus looks up and says; "So,.. Rudy,.. why should I let you into heaven?"
"Well, when I was 12 I asked you into my heart." I say confidently.
"Sorry, not good enough"
"What the hell?" "Why not?" I ask in dismay.
"It's not about you" Jesus replies.
"What the fuck?" "Sorry,.. I didn't mean to swear"
"It's OK" Jesus says. "It's not like I haven't heard it before. Besides, it's about what's in your heart that matters, not necessarily what comes out of your mouth."
"Hmmm ... Oh,,, I know." I say hopefully. "You died on cross for my sins."
"I died on the cross for everyone's sins. Sin isn't the issue."

I stand there looking at my feet, suddenly realizing they're bare, trying to figure out what I'm missing.

"Look, why don't you go over there and sit on a bench for awhile and try to figure it out while I process some of these other people" Jesus suggests.

I look to the left and there are a bunch of benches, with several people already sitting on them. I find an empty space and sit down. I look up and down the benches at the people sitting there. Some have obviously been there awhile. Every now and then I think I recognize someone. "Is that Pastor Bob? What's he doing on the bench?" I wonder.

Then I notice that I can see past Jesus, through the pearly gates, into Heaven - there are lots of people there. I see them sitting and talking to bright orbs of light. I see them talking to each other. I see them playing. They seem really happy - but more than that. Eventually, I start to recognize more and more people, but there's something peculiar, these people weren't what I would have called Christian when they were alive. "How'd they get in there, and I can't?" I ask myself.

I start to get a strange sensation. I can not only SEE they are happy, but I can FEEL that they are. As I tune-in to this new ability, I realize they aren't feeling happy at all - they're feeling  unconditionally LOVED.

Suddenly a voice interrupts my thoughts - it's Jesus;"Rudy, come back up here please."

I get up off the bench, and slowly make my way up to the table again.

"So ... I believe we have more to talk about?" Jesus says quizzically.
"Yes. I think so." I reply.
"Well let's start from the top again, shall we?"
"Why should I  let you into heaven?"
"Because thou, O God, art LOVE" I reply humbly.
"That's better. Welcome" Jesus says, and stands to the side to let me in.

As I move slowly past the table, I glance down at the book, and, somehow, I know that everyone's name is in there.