Sunday, June 28, 2009

502. Post Mortem

The last post elicited seven submissions to my personal email account - all private and very personal words placed there for my eyes only rather than comments made in public on the blogpage for all the world to read - three of those commenters were, like me, moved and depressed at the passing of Michael Jackson, like me in large part due to a love for his talents and music, and especially the music of his earliest years; four of those emails took me to task (one in some very strong language) for not mentioning the seedier controversies which have followed the late entertainer for more than a decade.

I will not address those concerns here in this follow-up. But I will address an issue raised in one email wherein the writer indicated their happiness that Jackson was no longer of this world.

On several occasions in the past I have written my beliefs on the hereafter (first affirming that I believe there is one) and what is in store for those of us who are fortunate to cross over to the other side, the so-called Promised Land, where we can answer "present" when the roll is called up yonder.

Although it is belief I have held since a teenager, after first accepting the idea of a divine beginning to all things dating back to the first Big Bang, I did not realize until the last decade or so there was a religion devoted to the belief I held, that of Universalism. Ironically, I first stumbled upon the belief of universalism from a Catholic Prayer Book my father gave me at my Confirmation and First Communion, an event which took place in May, 1979 when I was 18.

The book is a Catholic classic, called My Prayer Book, by a Father F. X. Lasance, written in the very early 20th century. It is one of my very favorite possessions, a book I have returned to for guidance and inspiration many times since May of 1979. The book I have is a 1945 edition, one my father used in his youth. There have been several reprints. There is a section called "On Happiness and Goodness" and it is in that section where there is a discussion answering the question "Will only the few be saved?"

In answering that question, Fr. Lasance responds it is his belief that nearly every one will be saved, this based on the idea of God's unending and unmeasurable love, grace, and mercy. I accept this as the appropriate answer to the question. I know there are those who like to narrow the pathway, keeping as closed as possible the gateway through which we all must pass to enter into eternity.

I have for generations chose to ignore their take on the breadth of God's love, grace, and mercy. I am of the belief we are all of his creation, irrespective of who we are, where we live, what we believe, or why we sometimes act the ways we do. I believe Jesus told the parables of the Prodigal Son, the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and that of the Good Shepherd, to explain this wide, wide berth of acceptance, oversight, and a longing for all of us to be one together in the end, rejoicing together at being together.

It is this belief which guides me in my opposition to the Death Penalty, a belief which means that once this greatest of penalties is applied by state powers, that soul, whoever she or he may have been and despite whatever they may have done to deserve that ultimate punishment, that soul is then and there relieved of its temporal shortcomings and welcomed home as a Child of God. My view is that if they were deserving of the Death Penalty, their crime must have been great. Rather they live a lifetime incarcerated than be hastily dispatched to the other side by a tolerant, accepting, and welcoming God, who sees each of us as a child of his making.

Last Thursday, I firmly believe that same God, seeing in Michael Jackson one like each of us, a Child of God, swung wide the gate and said "Welcome home."

1 comment:

Olivia Anne said...

Jeff, your writing often charms me. But, this entry contains one of the clearest expositions of the promises we hope for I have been fortunate to read. My Sunday school teacher once focused on Jesus's promise that all who then call on His name should be saved. It is not our purpose to understand how this works; merely, to accept that it will. Thank you for this post.

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Personal

Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Single, male, bald, overweight, early 50s, seeking . . . Oh wait, that's goes on the other website. How about this - never married, liberal Democrat, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.