As we misjudge You, Love, projecting a regal warrior upon your name, so we misjudge our lives. We have this framework of salvation: we were made good but chose bad, because You are just, we must pay with our lives, You offer yourself, your son, as sacrifice for that sin, and if we accept that, recognizing both our sin and your grace, we have the promise of salvation.
If that’s the deal, OK. But that’s not where my heart is at.
You saved me when you delivered me from the womb. You saved me when the birth parents that did not want me and could not easily abort me gave me up for adoption. You saved me in every day after that, and I am grateful that it included adoption by such a phenomenal family. If this is all there is, if after this life ends there is nothing, or even if there is some hell of my making, then you are still all Love and all Generosity and though a wimp, I will not argue it unjust.
But I don’t think Jesus is Isaac, an obedient son that a dutiful father offered on an altar because justice demanded it. That’s a crappy, cold, capriciously unloving model, and I think that’s the opposite of you. I think Jesus died because he crossed the status quo and offered a new way of living that the authorities couldn’t control, because all-love and choosing losers undoes control by lifting up the downtrodden. And I think the resurrection was your final answer that, no, there really isn’t any damn thing we can do that is powerful enough to make you stop loving us.
The sooner we realize that and start loving you back, and loving yours back, the better, sure. I met my earthly love young, at 19, and I still wish we’d met earlier. Love is insatiable that way. But that’s not about a transactional service to you in exchange for a deferred compensation of heaven’s glory. That’s just love meeting love.
If I had to guess, I’d say that when we die, what lives after us is our love. I’ll go back to that freshman “Faith and Imagination” proposition: You are the source and sum of all love, and what there is of us that is love returns to you. What there is of us that is not love goes away. If it goes away painfully through purgatory or casts us into the inferno or just melts right off, I mean, I don’t know. I guess we’ll all find out.
But in the meantime, let’s not spend today pining for tomorrow. Let’s love the heck out of each other and out of You today. Because to the limited extent that I have done that, I suspect I have glimpsed heaven, right now.