When we meet him face to face.
You are standing in line waiting your turn to see Him. He, is The High King, The Judge, The Ruler, The All Knowing, The Son of God, the Creator of all things, the Most Holy, The Author of Justice and many other names all meant to describe Jesus; But he is also known in this place as The Boss. Your mind is reeling, your heart is pounding and your palms are even sweating. Rumors have been flying around that some of the great ones of earth who had been the "movers" and "motivators", those known for being the "Righteous" persons of the Kingdom were not getting what was expected; some who even had churches that held several million people. The rumors are that some of these are being turned away. Turned away, weeping and screaming obscenities about the unfairness of The Boss.
The thought of this has caused the bile to rise into your throat. If the righteous are barely making it in, where does this leave you? You try fitfully to gather your meager clothing around you to cover your nakedness underneath. However the thin nylon veil is full of holes; and every attempt to cover one grimy blotch of flesh only leaves another filthy section exposed.
You are not really sure what the actual details are surrounding the unsettling rumors, but one report has been of a frightful conversation which went on between The Boss and the Honorable Bishop. Yes, the Bishop Harold Harkins, leader of the largest mega church organization ever known to man, is now sitting crumpled in shame on the sidewalk of the great city, having stripped himself of his clothing, and pounded and clawed his own chest until raw in a fit of anger and shame. They are saying that, upon his arrival, the Bishop had practically run head first into the gate called Beautiful, which lead into the inner court, only to have an angel intervene telling him that he was to have an audience with The Boss himself.
Your tongue grows thick in your own mouth as you imagine the scene as it has been retold from one person to the next until the terror of it has been embedded in the minds of all the new arrivals.
The Bishop had arrived adorned in the finest that earth could supply, silken shirt and platinum cuff links that sparkled in contrast with his precision Swiss timepiece hanging from the chain about his wrist. The timepiece, which incidentally had stopped working when the last trump had sounded, and the angel had heralded "the fullness of time and the solidification of all possibilities." His billowy linen pants were held in place by an exquisitely crafted, platinum coated waist ornament which had a spectacular likeness of a rams head in the center. The width and breadth of the piece had been designed especially for the Bishop to perfectly accent his sculptured body and gave him the appearance of a modern day pharaoh. The only thing needed to make his attire complete would have been the shoes he had been carrying in his hand that were made of the purest calves' skin and were rubbed, stretched and shaped to specification until they fit his feet perfectly, more like a sock than a shoe. But like everyone, he had promptly removed his shoes with the first step unto the city streets. All of the arrivers had found out immediately, that anything but bare feet caused the soles of the feet to burn from a mysterious scorching heat which radiated from the ground. Most had abandoned the offending footwear after finding it useless; the Bishop had chosen to hang on to his, in consideration of their great earthly value and the sentiment that he supposed the sight of them brought to mind.
Upon hearing that he was going to be ushered into the inner court by The Boss himself, the Bishop had gotten very excited. Tears of joy had streamed down his face in anticipation of the crown of glory which he supposed the high boss was waiting to bestow upon him in the presence of those watching (of which many were his own followers). And all those in attendance had been waiting to see which of the beautiful mansions was to be given to this great man of God.
You and the others had expected that no one here would be adorned as lovely as the Bishop, except The Boss himself. And these expectations had proven to be false as well. It seems that when The Boss did appear, he was nothing like you or anyone had expected. He was ordinary. He had no splendid apparel, no otherworldly halo or glow surrounding him, no entourage of Angles trailing behind him, no specialness to be seen. He was dressed in a pair of blue jeans, a white shirt rolled up at the sleeves and no belt or shoes. The only thing noteworthy about him at all was his eyes. And when his gaze had fallen on you for one brief moment, it had produced a falling sensation, as if a surge had gone out from you and had zapped your energy. You tried to steady yourself and noticed that he had smiled at you, or had that been a laugh? Whichever it was, your body had responded with a mind of its own and began a faint vibrating sensation while you felt the tears began to fall uncontrollably, and a sweetness filled your chest and spread outward unto your limbs like a wave of warmth like flowing water but thicker like oil, and you wept; and all from just a glance. Indeed, His gaze had caused many, but not all, to fall down; and some would then begin laughing uncontrollably while many would cry. Still others seemed unaffected at all and simply watched the poor souls who were being afflicted. The unaffected ones seemed to feel superior in that they might be considered more blessed seeing how they were able to stand firm under The Boss's gaze.
You had been told that the Bishop had been one of the unaffected ones. He actually was said to have not believed that he was even standing before The Boss until he was shown the nail prints in his palms.
"Blessed are they which believe without seeing" The Boss had said as the Bishop examined his wounds.
"Sorry Boss, I guess I didn't expect you to be dressed in your work clothes. It is the seventh day you know." The Bishop had replied with a nervous chuckle, wringing his shoes with both hands.
"Indeed the work is finished" laughed The Boss. "Let those that worked, work no more." He had continued to stare at the Bishop as if waiting for his reply.
"Can we get started?" The Bishop asked impatiently, wondering why The Boss was acting so strangely, and staring at him so intently.
"Sure Bishop, I suppose you want to see your eternal home?"
"Yes I would," The Bishop had started to relax, but had shifted his weight from one foot to the other in anticipation.
The Boss then motioned for the Bishop to follow him down a path that circled out and away from the Beautiful Gate, and away from the outer perimeter of the wall to the Inner Court.
The bishop had halted in his tracks. "Aren't we going the wrong way?" he'd asked. "Shouldn't we be going through the Beautiful gate?"
The Boss had turned to face the Bishop, "I don't think that would be safe for you Bishop."
The Boss stated gently with a look of sadness.
"What are you talking about?" The bishop exclaimed.
"Well didn't you know Bishop?" he explained. "You must have proper attire to go in there."
The bishop had looked down at his fine clothing and then back at The Boss in disbelief of the obvious insult. "Why there is no finer apparel that can be bought on earth." He said to The Boss.
"I am sure of this" The Boss stated patiently, "But you see there was no Blood involved in the purchase of your garments."
"Blood?" the Bishop screeched. "Why I worked my fingers to the bone to get what I have. I have sacrificed everything to get here, at times, even my very own blood." Don't you remember? Where is your book of record?"
The Boss, obviously moved with compassion, had begun to cry gentle tears as he sorrowfully explained "Yes I remember all of your works, and your blood as well. But I am afraid that this is the problem."
"Problem, what problem, where is my mansion?" the Bishop was becoming irate.
"Calm down Bishop," The Boss had said as he turned and pointed to a small field of grass on the side of the path. "Behold your eternal home." As he spoke the words a small trailer home appeared which had been set down upon some concrete blocks to be held off of the ground. The same type of blocks had been used as steps leading up into the trailer. The grass underneath the trailer was brown and parched. There were no trees.
The bishop had dropped his shoes and began screaming "What?" he'd turned to face The Boss, "You are kidding right?" He said. "This is a joke right?"
"Actually it is not a joke." The Boss had replied sadly. "This is what your works are worth here. And actually, I've been quite generous with you" With this The Boss had held out the keys to the trailer. But the Bishop, dumbfounded, just looked at them in unbelief and would not take them.
"But I gave you everything I had," the Bishop said, "I did everything I could for you. I gave up every earthly treasure that came my way and now you tell me this is all it got me?" At this point the Bishop had been at the verge of utter hostility, seeing his dream of a beautiful mansion crumbling before him.
"But you were wrong. It was not enough" The Boss had explained.
"Wrong? Not enough?" The Bishop said. "What more could I have done? I healed the sick for you, set up with the ones who had been put in prison and tried to get them to change their ways. I feed the poor, even the lazy ones who could have feed themselves. I even cast out those devils who were always trying to stop my ministry and ruin my church." The Bishop had been shouting by this time. "Tell me BOSS," he had said sarcastically with a snap of his neck, "What ELSE have you added which is required of me to get into the Beautiful Gate?"
"Nothing new, only what has always been required; Entry into the Beautiful Gate requires Blood." The Boss had replied simply.
"But that is what I gave you. I poured out MY LIFE for you" The Bishop had exclaimed, still angry.
"My Blood, not yours" The Boss had added, once again offering the keys to the Bishop.
The scene after that was reported to have been most unpleasant as the Bishop had unceremoniously pleaded and begged and offered some outrageous deals with The Boss through tears at first and then with much cursing and accusations until he suddenly seemed to lose his mind and began to rip at his clothes and beat his chest in frustration.
Now they are calling your name. It is your turn. You can see The Boss walking toward you and you try desperately to get a grip on yourself. I will be strong, I will be strong, you repeat to yourself. And you try to bring your shawl tighter to cover your nakedness and shame. Then you attempt to stand tall and you plant your feet firmly beneath you to prepare for when he looks at you. But even before your eyes are in line with his you can feel it happening all over again. The warmth, the tingling vibrations, the weakness and this time the need to laugh and cry all at once. And you are falling.
Now, just before you land on your knees, he reaches out his hand to steady you and you hear a load shout and wonder for a moment, before realizing that his touch has caused a sensation which makes you cry out in surprise and joy. But there is no pain, and indeed the feeling is unlike anything you have ever felt and you marvel in that you do not want it to stop. Now you hear laughter but this time it is The Boss who is laughing and you are laughing with him while he tries to lift you to your feet. The two of you continue to laugh while you stumble like a drunk and fall into his arms. Suddenly you realize that you are completely uncovered but you are no longer ashamed. Once more he picks you up and this time he places his hands on both sides of your head and you feel the strength flood back into your muscles. You are now able to stand and a peace begins to flood your being and you feel great.
"Ok" The Boss says with a grin "I believe that we can continue now."
"Sure." you say happily, and you begin to walk toward the path outside of the Beautiful gate, the one which you believe would lead to the Bishop's trailer.
"Oh no, not that way for you," The Boss tells you. "You will be going through the Beautiful Gate."
For a moment you are speechless. You think he has made a mistake but then you remember that he does not ever make mistakes, that he is the sinless one. So you ask. "How can this be?" You look down at your filthy body and your torn rags lying on the ground and you ask again. "Why me? Why do I get to go in?"
"My friend, you have been faithful in what is a little, now I want to give you what is much."
"I have been faithful?" you ask.
" Oh yes!" The Boss says and starts to walk you up to the Beautiful gate. But when you are almost there you remember what you'd heard about the Blood and you become afraid again.
"But you said that Blood was required to get past the Gate, your Blood" you say to The Boss.
"That is right, and the Blood has been supplied. My blood." He smiles big and explains to you further. "Do you remember the day that you said you wanted me in your life?" You nod. "Well, I and my father came in. Since then we have been preparing a place for you. And, because you never tried to be righteous in your own eyes, I am now your righteousness."
"So it does not matter that I made mistakes," you ask?
"What mistakes? I know nothing about any mistakes. What matters is that my Blood was enough for your mistakes." Now, The Boss is grabbing your hand excitedly and leading you through the Beautiful Gate into the inner court of the Eternal City.
He leads you to a house which looks much like the house you have seen in your dreams all your life and even prayed about. You are so happy and you are about to go in when suddenly a pond and a fence appear in front of you. And in that moment you realize that you had just been wishing for a pond and a fence. Then you notice a tire swing has just appeared on an old oak tree by the side of the house. The house seems to be reading your thoughts because everything that you have ever wished for has begun to appear before your eyes. You watch as a garage is added and a car. Suddenly children are running across the front lawn and a flower Garden blooms out of the ground surrounding the front porch. You are in such a state by now that you turn to The Boss and hug him. "Thank you so much." You tell him over and over. His smile is enormous as if he is as happy about your being here as you are.
As you are thanking The Boss you glance down at your arms and realize that you are no longer naked. You are clothed in a feather light robe which has rays of light bursting forth with every move that you make, and you notice a fragrance that seems to be coming from you as well
"That is the Fragrance of Life" The Boss says as if he were reading your mind.
Suddenly there is a commotion behind you. You turn and look up to see that the Bishop is running toward the Beautiful Gate. And before anyone can stop him he flings himself inside tumbling head over heels. The Boss turns toward him but the Bishop has already started to stand. The moment that he stands to look around, he starts to scream. And the scream is one of such terror that you cover your ears.
"What is happening to him?" you ask The Boss above the noise.
"He is screaming because of what he can see" The Boss says, "He is seeing the truth about himself."
You ask why this did not happen to you and The Boss explains that The Holy Place allows no deception, and each man will bring into existence all things which are from inside his own heart. The Boss explains that you have been made new because of the Blood that he shed for you. He explains that his blood has cleansed your conscience from dead works which could never save you, and that his truth and your truth have become one. The Boss explains that the Bishop never accepted the Blood bought righteousness of the Son of God so he has been kept out of the Holy place for his own protection. "The heart of those who have not had the sin washed away is a terrible thing to behold." The Boss says to you, "Believe me, you do not want to see what the Bishop is seeing."
In the end, (if you can still say "end" in this place which has no end), the Bishop is taken back to his little trailer outside of the Beautiful gate. And you spend the first of many days, (if you can call it a "day" when there is no night), exploring the ever changing Kingdom called heaven.