Theophilus, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
So ends the second reading for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, which our lector will read this coming Sunday at our Cathedral in Reno, Nevada. We will also read from Psalm 118, part of the Hillel, the Great Jewish song of praise sung during Passover. During that psalm, the Jewish community sings, “בָּרוּךְ הַבָּא, בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה,” “Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Name.” Psalm 118 also has “The Name is the Mighty Judge, and gives us light; order the festival procession with boughs, even unto the horns of the altar.” The festive procession with boughs refers to the Palm Sunday crowd. The article “Are you ready for some baseball in the Garden of Eden,” relates how banners reflecting these words display prominently in our Cathedral during Easter Season.
When we see Jesus, we will see him as he is. How is he? Our Gospel reading gives us glimpses, and many fundamentalists do not like it. They misinterpret a key reading from the first reading, from Acts, which refers to Jesus, “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”
The Hebrew word used for “Salvation” in Psalm 118 is “ישׁוּעָה” which transliterates into English as “Joshua” or “Jesus.” There is no salvation except through Salvation. “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. As you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.”
“Theophilus, we are God’s children now.” Theophilus, Beloved of God, God desires to save all the sheep, not just the ones in the right club, or the ones who go to the right church on Sunday. We read the Fundamentalist Tea Party error in the Gospel reading from John 10:7:
All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. I am the beautiful shepherd. A beautiful shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.
The sheep do not listen to our message for a reason. The thief comes to steal and destroy. The thief judges the outcast and the poor, and not too favorably. The fundamentalists support the political party that has promoted the shift in incomes to the wealthy and away from those in most need over the past 40 years. They support gun rights, but disparage human rights. Jesus is “ישׁוּעָה,” the one who saves, not the one who condemns. He is the one who brings life, life in its abundance, not poverty for the poor and life for the wealthy!
The article “Are you ready for some baseball in the Garden of Eden,” reflects upon how, at the Second Coming, we are not going to an opulent palace, but back to the Garden of Eden. The sheep browsing upon the hill will be Jesus’ sheep, the poorest among us. The thieves purged from the garden will be the current leadership, who are more concerned with their own welfare than with that of the sheep. The new leaders will be those willing to give up their lives for their charges. They will be the ones putting the welfare of their charges above their own welfare.
The article “Are you ready for some baseball in the Garden of Eden,” addresses, “How can God expect us to take care of the next garden if we are not taking care of this one?” How can God expect us to care for the sheep in the World to Come, the העולם הבא, if we do not take care of the sheep here? We can continue to make excuses for not caring for the sheep, but we must remember, “God is watching us, from a distance.”
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