It is hard to imagine someone executing judgment also being part of the inclusive celebration to follow. Perhaps it is because we so focus on the negative that we cannot see through to what follows. Is everything that exists now – the good, bad, painful, stressful, beautiful, soothing, or soul destroying – relevant for the future? Does any of what exists today relevant in the future? What should cause me “real” pain?
Let me suggest a slightly different way of answering the question. Rather than list which pieces are on what side, a possible answer goes something along the following lines. Anything that isn’t relationship is not relevant. Relationships are all that carry forward and even then it is only the “positive” ones that go beyond the immediate.
Judgments may come, disease may strike, accidents will touch innocents, war may reach out to those who are full of compassion, or success may arrive. Everything so far mentioned is irrelevant to whatever is beyond today. The important thing in life was, is, and will be relationships. All relationships are included; casual interactions with someone on the street, friendship networks, family, close partners, spouse, and even vertically with Divinity. These determine the hope for tomorrow and for eternity! Everything else becomes a choice; will we carry whatever it is into our relationships or not? It is our call!
Far too often we expect God to roll out a red-carpet for our lives. Divinity’s promise is quite different. Words like “being available”, “walking with us”, and “guiding” come to mind. Also actions like “restoration”, “recreation”, and “communion”. As I listen I see the true side of life.
“One of the Seven Angels who had carried the bowls filled with the seven final disasters spoke to me: “Come here. I’ll show you the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb.” He took me away in the Spirit to an enormous, high mountain and showed me Holy Jerusalem descending out of Heaven from God, resplendent in the bright glory of God.” (Revelation 21.9, 10)
Today I reflect and travel full of compassionate, realistic hope.