Brace Yourself

Brace yourself.  Someday you’ll be in the Kingdom of God, and you’ll be shocked who you’ll see there.  Maybe it will be a preacher who kicked you out of his church and slandered you in front of the congregation.  

Maybe it will be a boss who prodded and drove you mercilessly in the name of greater profits and efficiency.  

Maybe it will be the petty thief who ran off with your purse and peace of mind, but who repented in prison and found God behind bars.  

Or maybe it will be someone you slandered or gossiped about, or deceived in a business deal.  Maybe it will be a case where you are the wronger rather than the wrongee.  

We know that these scenarios are real ones; there will be people in the Kingdom of God who for whatever reason we just don’t like in this life.  I sometimes ponder what the meeting between Stephen and Paul will be like -- Stephen, who breathed his last words while being stoned to death, and Paul, who supervised the operation.  Stephen had no way of knowing that Saul of Tarsus would one day be Paul the Apostle, one of the bravest and greatest evangelists for the faith he once despised.  

I wonder what words Paul will use when meeting not just Stephen in the resurrection of the just, but the others upon whom Paul brought death and torture for the faith, people whom he would now call brothers and sisters in the Lord.   What will they say to each other, or more to the point, what will we say to each other when we meet our personal Saul of Tarsus in the Kingdom of God?

Lenny C.

Excerpted from The Sabbath Morning Companion, March, 21, 2008, by Lenny Cacchio. 
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