Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ticket to Heaven

I ask a lot questions in my head and hesitate to ask them out loud.
Things like - If Jesus died for our sins, then what is our responsibility?
It seems like a rather mixed up thing to me. No matter what you have done in your life, if you "pray that little prayer" letting Jesus take responsibility, you have the ticket to heaven. And once you have prayed that prayer, the ticket holds. It's like a "get out of jail free" or get out of Hell free card. From that point on, claim the "sinner" role and that Jesus saved you and the responsibility is not really yours. It's all the pre-birth condition.
On the other hand, no matter how you live your life or what you believe, if you have not said that little prayer, Hell is it for you. If you take full responsibility for your life and your actions, NO ticket. That thinking says someone like Ghandi is not in heaven. And many like him who served to better the world around them, in the manner Jesus taught, cannot go to heaven if the salvation teachings is correct. But someone doing great harm in the world who, at some time in their life, prayed the right prayer, is going to heaven.
How is that different from our young people thinking they don't have to pay their bills - their parents should? Or I just show up for work and my employer needs to pay me no matter what I actually contribute?
I believe Jesus' life was more about showing us how to live and that was the salvation. This is the salvation of mankind: Heal the sick. Feed the poor. Love one another. Shed your need for material wealth. I believe Jesus was saying "walk like me" - "this is your salvation" - "no other path will work".
As humans, we are always looking for that quick fix - the easy pill - the solution that requires the least effort. Let someone else pay our bill. I really doubt that is a new human condition. My guess is that people have been looking for shortcuts for a very long time. And, I'm sorry, but the whole "salvation" focus feels like a shortcut to me.
I believe "Heaven" is where people treat one another right - a place of pure joy. I need to learn that before I can be in heaven. I have no idea what happens between here and there. No one from heaven has spoken to me to tell me how they got there. And there isn't any documentation I have seen of anyone who was actually in heaven to give a first hand account of how they got there.
I truly believe there is something more - a heaven - but the path to get there must include some sort of accountability - some sort of growth - some sort of careful filtering.
Or maybe if you pray the right prayer, you get into the Heaven training program. Maybe the whole salvation thing is about buying a ticket there. I really don't know.
All I know is that salvation or no salvation, I want to be trying to do the best I can right now. I am much more interested in how Jesus lived and what he taught than any thing else. I'm much more interested in how people like Jesus lived and what they taught. What can we be doing today? What is our responsibility to humankind today? There are no shortcuts here or to get to heaven. Our ticket is learning to live the heavenly way today.

1 comment:

  1. ..think this is your best to date! at the post office one day i was met by 2 men urging me to know Jesus. I said I do then they proclaimed that i must know that I am saved...hmm...they had me in a discussion at once...and wanted to talk to me more about why i needed NO ACCOUNTABILITY if I had already accepted his actions on my behalf! ugh! since that day, I have never forgotten the simple ridiculousness of not needing nor wanting to live in the manner best suited for gaining that 'entry'...and here you are reiterating it for me.