Sister Joan Chittester tells a story about the day she learned (in Catholic school many years ago) that "Protestants don't go to Heaven". It was quite a shock to her since her mother was Catholic but her father wasn't. Sister Joan's story got me thinking about the fixation that some Christians have about Heaven. You see I'm concerned about how many of us are caught up in trying to define who is and isn't going to Heaven.
First thing we need for this discussion a little honesty. We all have folks that we don't want to make the cut. That's really what it comes down to, I don't want YOU in the really good place. I know I do. And I bet you do too. We may not be proud of it, we may fight against it. But deep inside our broken human hearts there are people that just can not imagine are going, should not even be considered for entry to that Heavenly place.
Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord that I'm not in charge of making that decision.
The problem for me is that starting from the Gospel message of a loving, Grace offering God I can't find a place where I can ever say "You are unclean and unworthy". At the same time I'm not saying that there's no cover charge at this door. I do believe that the cover be comped i you ask. And that some folks will refuse to ask.
I worry about the folks who want to deny that to whoever it is that gets under their skin. An attempt to control entry to Heaven strikes me as an attempt to control access to God. The concept of anyone trying to restrict access to the Divine strikes me as a sin in and of itself.
My role isn't to be a gatekeeper to Heaven. It should be, I believe, to insure that by my life and actions I don't get in someone else's way. Not to be a stumbling block. When I chose to "enforce" the "standards" of admission I'm taking onto myself a degree of certitude, a level of authority to which I don't believe I'm entitled.
I pray everyone hears God call and follows it. I believe that God will use all the Divine means to bring us all home.
I hope we all get to Heaven.