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Heaven and Hell
You may want to skip ahead and then come back to this paragraph. I don't want you to think I am saying something that I am not: I think heaven and hell do not play a large enough issue for the followers of Jesus.
I know what you are thinking. There they goes, I knew this was coming, Fire and brimstone, but it is not what you think. I am not talking about a hell in the hereafter to which few will fall, I am talking about the hell that we ignore everyday.
Heaven and Hell, like the Kingdom of God itself is with us even now. Look at the turmoil in the world, the wars, the famines, and plagues. As Joseph Campbell said, "Heaven and hell are within us, and all the gods are within us (Power of Myth, 39)." It is all here set before our eyes. When we look into the war ravaged regions on the world, we are looking into hell. But even in these places, it is possible to find sights of heaven.
We forget the Good News that Christ came to tell us:
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said,
The kingdom of God comes not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:20-21).
The Kingdom is here. This is the Gospel according to Christ (Matt 4:23; Mark 1:14), the Kingdom is nigh at hand.
This is the work of the faithful, to live in the Kingdom and reconcile the world. This is why Jesus' teachings are about helping others. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (James 1:27)." Truly, we are to save others from this present hell:
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you an hungry, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink? When did we see you as a stranger, and took you in? or naked, and clothed you? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and came unto you?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not.
Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick,or in prison, and did not minister unto you?
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (Matt 25:31-46).
These are the standards of Christ our Lord to few Christians these days. The modern church has become obsessed with the private lives of people and forgotten about the standards of Jesus.
So I do believe that we should talk more about Heaven and Hell, in the same way our Lord did.