When I was a junior in college, I was invited to go on a weekend retreat sponsored by one of the university campus ministries. They promised that a fantastic preacher was coming and that it would be a great weekend. On the first night, the preacher talked about how God was recording a video of our thoughts and actions, including all of the secret things that we hope no one ever knows about.
He went on to say that on judgment day God would pull out the video with our name on it and play it on the big screen in the sky so that everyone, including our mothers and fathers and friends, could see all our sinful thoughts and deeds. Of course, everyone over 13 was horrified and thus ready to do whatever was needed to get our video erased.
Thankfully, the Father, Son and Spirit are nothing like the “God” proclaimed by that supposed preacher. Over the years I have thought about that sermon, the horror and fear and manipulation of it all — and all in the name of Jesus.
One day a quite different version of the Lord’s video came to mind. Suppose that when you die Jesus meets you and hands you a DVD entitled, “Your Life and Contribution to the Kingdom of God.” He points to a TV in a private room (for the blessed Trinity abhors shame) and instructs you to play the DVD.
The screen comes on and you punch the play button, but nothing happens. You wait a minute and then another, but nothing changes. There are no pictures of your noble deeds or the years of service to the church and not even a hint of one of the great sermons you preached. The screen is simply blank. You are not sure what is going on, and while you are keenly aware of the fact that your life was anything but perfect, you do believe that you did many things for God and that at the very least there should be a few pictures.
About the time you turn to Jesus with protest in your eyes, he leans over and gives you another DVD. This one is entitled, “Not You, but Christ in You.” As it plays on the screen, you begin to see how your entire life has been a participation in what Jesus and his Father were doing in the Spirit. Your life unfolds before your eyes and you see that all along Jesus has been sharing his burdens, his ideas, his dreams with you. You see that the great love that you had in your heart for your family and friends did not originate in you at all, but is the love of the Father, Son and Spirit shared with you by Jesus.
As you watch, you see his goodness, his joy, his freedom and his life emerging in and through you and your life. You see yourself and others as you have never seen yourself and others before. As you stand quite amazed and overjoyed, Jesus leans over and whispers into your ear, “Now you are ready for Heaven.” Such is the kingdom of the Triune God.
Dr. C. Baxter Kruger is the Director of Perichoresis Ministries and the President of Mediator Lures, which manufactures specialty fishing lures. For more information visit www.perichoresis.org.
Author: C. Baxter Kruger