Posts Tagged ‘heaven’

heavenIt’s 72 A.D. and Murphy, the non-disciple, sits with his family at the funeral of his son, Micky. They are near Capernaum, where Mick was killed in a construction accident. Murphy is getting on in years. While sitting with his wife, Murphy is approached by a neighbor, Sem, a Kurdish buddhist.

Sem (respectfully):May Mick be one with the universe.

Murphy: Hogwash.

Sem (surprised): What?!

Murphy: Hogwash. Mick is with Jesus right now in heaven.

Sem: That’s right, y’all are members of The Way.

Murphy: Quite right. I actually followed Jesus and spoke with him AFTER he didn’t die at the hands of the chief priests and Romans. Mick was a kid back then.

Sem: So, you believe in heaven? Where is it and what’s it like?

Murphy: Can’t say as I really know, but Jesus said there was such a place. When a guy who works signs and wonders rises from the dead says something, you can take it to the bank.

Sem: Does the Torah or any of your holy books teach about heaven?

Murphy: Can’t say for sure. I don’t really know the Scriptures like I should. But, if Jesus says it, I believe it. In fact, that’s why I believe the Jewish laws and prophets–Jesus did and that’s good enough for me.

Sem: I see. So, it’s all a matter of faith for you.

Murphy: Yep. Jesus said, “Life will be hard, but I go to prepare a place for you, that where I go you may be also.” I saw him live. I saw him die. I saw him alive again. AND, I saw him ascend into the sky.

Sem: Seriously?

Murphy: You can look it up. Dr. Luke wrote it all down for his friend Theophilus who lives in Alexandria, or maybe Antioch, by a library. There’s a copy of his letters down at our gathering place on the corner of Mud and Fish streets near my other son’s pub.

Sem: You believe Mick is with Jesus now?

Murphy: Yes, I do. Mick believed in the one who has risen. He repented of his sin, was baptized in the sea by Matthew the tax collector. Mick kept Jesus’ truth in his heart and acted graciously toward others.

Sem: That’s good.

Murphy: Yep. We’re parted for now, but we’ll meet up again. You wanna come along?

Tr8: Belief in Jesus settles our doubts about the hereafter. We may not know the answers, but we know the one who does.

Lazarus is eating breakfast (Captain Crunch) with Mary and Martha (Special K) a couple of days after Jesus raised him from the dead.

Mary: Take another bath.

Martha: Yeah, You’re still coming on a bit strong. Next time you die, put on your deodorant. You never know…

Lazarus: Okay. I’ll go down to the bathhouse again and try out that new, organic free-range soap.

Martha: Laz, what do you remember about being dead?

Lazarus: I told you, not much. Seem’s I was only there for an hour or two. Sat by the fireplace with Jonathan and David and a lady named, Lois. God made us some chocolate chip cookies with milk. We talked a while.  Moses joined us at a quarter til eternity and booted up a NetFlix movie — The Ten Commandments — Charlton Heston was just about to whack an Egyptian in a short skirt when Jesus beamed me back.

Mary: Did it hurt?

Lazarus: Not a bit. I was dying when I left, but came back feeling like a champ.

Martha: So, did God tell you how you made it? How you got over the hump?

Lazarus: There were folks all over the place, I think. I didn’t see anyone standing around in hell, but I saw a sign that said it was down the street. Tuesdays are free, but I don’t think alot of folks visit unless someone is getting out. Then there’s a party and a pounding.

Martha: I wish I knew what God wanted out of us. I don’t want to screw things up or disappoint him.

Mary: Makes me sad. At least you get two tries.

Lazarus: Don’t worry, Martha. Mary, don’t you weep. Here’s what I know for a fact. It’s not so much what you believe in, it’s what you be leavin’ when your’re gone. Our lives should leave a trail of all the stuff in Galatians 5: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Martha: Say, what?

Lazarus: If love, joy and peace aren’t what’s found when you leave a room, you’re barkin’ up the wrong tree. It’s not about ‘gettin saved,’ rules, laws, sacraments or being moral, it’s about loving others. The moral stuff goes on automatic when we love as Christ does. The Law leaves you with Romans 7. Grace leaves you with Romans 8.

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Tr8: Leave a wake of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control wherever you go. That’s what paves the way for all of us to get back to Eden.

Jesus and Murphy (the non-disciple) are in the market at a taco cart. They’ve just come from a Carpenters Guild meeting. Murphy’s wearing an eye patch and limping from a fight he had with some scribes and pharisees who tried to stone a gay guy. The pharisees were in Forest Lawn Memorial Hospital in Capernaum.

Jesus: This is my treat.

Murphy: Really? Aww, thanks. I’ll get ’em next time.

Jesus (to Jose Fuentes, the cart owner): Jose, we’ll take four ‘El Gigantes’  and two Jarritos.

Jose (grinning): ¡Jesus! ¿Esta bein? (Jesus hands him some coins, but Jose refuses them.)¡Qué! Your denaro is no good here, Salvador.

Murphy (smiling): Forget what I said ’bout next time (as he carries the Jarritos to a nearby table under an umbrella).

Jesus smiles, nods, grabs some napkins and carries the tacos in a small cardboard box over to the table. They sit.

Murphy: I’m still not sure why you let yourself be seen with me.

Jesus (unwrapping a taco): You’re my kind of people, Murph.

Murphy: Thanks, but you know I’ve really messed up my life. It’d take me forever to remember everything…if I could.

Jesus: I know. Listen, don’t worry. I’m fixing it. In fact, it’s already fixed. I’ve even fixed the stupid things you haven’t done yet.

Murphy: What?

Jesus: Yeah, I’m going back, forward, whatever and cleaning things up. By the time we get to the Father, it’ll be finished. You know the outhouse you set on fire when you were 13 in Irbid? Behind your grandparent’s house? I’ve already fixed that. Good as new — standing in heaven with a new coat of paint.

Murphy: You fixed it?

Jesus: Yep. Adam screwed everything up. I’m unscrewing it.

Murphy: I don’t get it, but I guess I believe it. You’re saying you can redo history.

Jesus: I can, and am, redoing history. You’ll be amazed when you see the Father’s original plan completed. Adam and Eve are really pumped about this.

Murphy: You are going to go back and straighten out my mistakes and make things good?

Jesus: Murph, in me, you are a new creation. Old things are gone ALL things are new. When I forgive sin, I clean up the mess. If you believe in me, believe also that I go and do as I please. I please to redo history from Adam onward. On your way to heaven I’ll fix things. You’ll see heaven after I’ve cleaned up your messes.

Tr8: Trust Christ completely with your past. What can’t he do if he has a mind to? What can’t he make new?  2 Corinthians 5:17

Jesus is praying on the roof of Peter’s house in Capernaum. The rest of the disciples are downstairs playing Uno and hanging out.

Thomas: Hey, anybody know where the leftover spaghetti ended up?

Peter: Tupperware container in the frig, next to the Cheeze Wiz.

Thomas: Nope.

Peter: Maybe Jesus took it to the roof.

Thomas heads up to the roof.

Jesus (looking up): Hey, Thom-bo. Sorry about the spaghetti. There’s a little left.

Thomas: Nah, that’s okay. What’s up?

Jesus: Praying and talking with some friends.

Thomas: Talking with friends? How’s that work? Nobody’s here.

Jesus (grinning): I’ll show you. It’ll blow your mind, but we’ll give it a go.

Thomas: Okay.

Jesus: Here’s how it’ll work: I’m going to kind of pull open the curtain to the other side of the house.

Thomas (quizzically): The other side of the house?

Jesus: You are going to see what you can’t see but it’s still there.

Thomas: Okay, open the curtain, wherever it is.

Jesus (looking toward the left): Michael. Job. Come on out.

The archangel, Michael, and Job appear.

Thomas (amazed): Whoa!

Jesus (left arm extended): Thomas, meet the archangel Michael and Job of the Old Testament.

Thomas: Can I touch them?

Job walks over and shakes hands with Thomas. Michael reaches out to shake hands, but pulls his away just as Thomas reaches.

Jesus (smiling): Michael, quit horsing around.

Micheal grins, does a fist bump and explosion. Thomas is clueless. Michael throws his arm around Thomas’ shoulder and gives him a hug.

Michael: I know your guardian angel, Buzz. He’s on break while I’m here.

Thomas (eyebrow raised): Buzz?

Michael (nodding): Yep, first rate. First rate he is.

Jesus (clearing his throat): Uhm. Job was talking to me about suffering. He’s a rock of faithfulness.

Michael: One of these days I’m gonna kick Lucifer’s butt.

Jesus (holding up his hand): Chill, Mike. I’m going to take care of it. Job and I were discussing winning when losing.

Job: In Christ, we even win when we lose. You never know how much you love someone until you have truly suffered for them.

Jesus: Some insights only come through suffering. Job’s wisdom is tremendous because of his experiences.

Job: The Father redeems everything. Every time. Hey, Michael. Tee-time. You coming?

Michael (nodding to Jesus): Yeah, I’m coming. Noah said David can’t make it, but Caleb can.

They disappear. Thomas stands staring.

Jesus (rubbing his hands together): So, what do you think?

Thomas (turning to look at Jesus): What just happened?

Jesus: You’ve seen the unseen.

Thomas: What does it mean?

Jesus: Point of information. Nothing. Peter, James and John have seen behind the curtain, too.

Thomas: And?

Jesus: Peter wanted to build tents for Moses and Elijah. Knucklehead.

Thomas: Really?

Jesus: Yeah. Go figure. Tents!

Thomas: Hmm. Sounds like Peter. Hey, Moses, Elijah! Let’s go camping!

They sit silently.

Thomas: Will I end up behind the curtain, too?

Jesus (smiling sadly): Yes, but I’ll be with you. Would you like me to invite Michael and Job to meet you, too?

Thomas (thoughtfully): Yeah. I’d like that.

Jesus: Done.

Tr8: Faith in things unseen.

It’s after the resurrection. Mary, Jesus’ mother, is sitting with Jesus at her cousin Mary’s house in Jerusalem. The upper room is upstairs — just as you’d expect. They are sitting on the front porch. Rhoda, Mary’s servant girl, is peeling potatoes. Jesus is whittling and Mary is mending socks.

Mary: Jude goes through socks like demons through a rock band.

Jesus: Yeah, but he’s getting better about changing them after football practice.

They sit silently for a minute. The sun is setting. Rhoda rises with a pan of potatoes and goes inside.

Mary (stops darning): I miss my parents sometimes.

Jesus: I know. They’re okay and pleased with you right now.

Mary: What?

Jesus: They are enjoying your mending Jude’s socks. They love you both.

Mary: They’re watching? We’re not alone?

Jesus: No. We’re never alone. If folks only knew. There’s a huge cloud of witnesses. What do you think happens when people die?

Mary: I don’t know. I mean, I know you’re here — you’ve risen. And I remember Peter and John talking about seeing you talking with Moses and Elijah before you left. Lazaras is back, which reminds me of the story you told about another Lazarus dipping his finger in the water.

Jesus (nodding): Yeah.

Mary: And I’ve seen angels. King Saul supposedly talked with Samuel’s ghost. So, I guess death is not the end. So, you’re saying my folks are watching us now?

Jesus: Yes. Sometimes they’re doing other stuff, but now they’re watching us.

Mary: Are they happy?

Jesus: Yes, they are. You can talk with them and they can hear. You see, reality is much greater and wider than you can see. There’s more behind the curtain, so to speak. Every now and then, people catch glimpses of the other side, like when I pulled the curtain aside so Peter, James and John could see Moses and Elijah. There are glimpses of glory all around, but humans miss it most of the time. There’s more than you can see.

Mary: Will I be able to watch Jude and the rest of the kids after I die?

Jesus (smiling): Yes. You’ll be amazed. I’ll let you in on a secret — well, it’s not a secret, it’s a truth most people don’t care about. Love never dies. We, all of us, are never separated — by death or anything else. Most of the guys are going to die violently for me. John’ll take you to Ephesus and he’ll be the only one to die of natural causes. But, whether alive or dead, here or there, we’re together and we’re supporting one another.

Mary: Is that why sometimes when I talk to my parents, it seems like they’re present and listening?

Jesus: Yes. Through me, we are all united in love.

Mary: Can they influence what happens here?

Jesus: No. Only to the degree they work through me. In the future, it’ll get confusing for the church. Future generations will know they can commune with us, even when we’re not present. Some will go to one extreme — praying to you and the saints, and others will assume you and the saints don’t exist at all.

Mary (frowning): Oh, that’s sad. They’ll forget about their spiritual ancestors?

Jesus: More or less. They’ll commune with me, but they’ll miss the blessing of communion with the saints.

Mary (placing her hand on Jesus’ knee): You and me. We’ll never be apart, will we?

Jesus (taking Mary’s hand): You and me. Never. Our family of faith? We’re locked in and never alone. When these guys die, they’ll not die alone. We’ll all be there. And in some cases the curtain will be pulled aside and they’ll see the angels and all of us waiting.

They sit quietly for a minute.

Mary (reflectively): Mom? Dad? Glad you are here. Love you.

Tr8: Commune with the saints. We are not alone and we are part of a much greater kingdom.