Sunday, January 30, 2011

The question was: "Do you say all will be saved?"

I'm in Washington ... Tacoma to be exact. Here's the view from my very cool hotel window...

... where I've had an hour to "freshen up" before heading over to meet with the good folks from Equal Rights Washington for "Taking the Lead"... conversations about marriage equality and coalition builiding in faith communities. Good work. Exciting work. Work that it's an honor to be part of and work that I'm grateful All Saints supports me in doing on behalf of our wider witness to the church and to the world.

So ... since I had a few minutes here in the hotel ... I checked in and watched the end of the Rector's Forum with Fr. Roy Bourgeois (which was WONDERFUL ... do go visit our Forum Archives and check it out next week when the video's up. Trust me!)

And then I checked this blog to see if there were any comments that needed moderated. There were. And one of them was on the post a few days ago about the Christ Church video. The commenter went on for a bit and then ended with a question -- and the question was: "Do you say all will be saved?"

And what immediately came to my mind was this poem by Tobias Haller. I used it last year in my sermon on Healing Sunday and so am offering here ... somewhat on the run ... in answer to that question and in response to the seemingly overwhelming challenges facing us every time we dare to crawl out from under the covers and put our feet on the floor and head out to spend one more day trying to turn the human race into the human family ... to proclaim God's love, justice and compassion ... to work to make equality "the new normal."

More later. Sunday blessings, all!

Nothing will be lost
by Tobias Haller

Beloved sisters and brothers, let me tell you a mystery.
Nothing will be lost. All will be restored.
In the economy of salvation, nothing goes to waste.
Our God is not a God of acceptable losses.
Nothing God has made deserves God’s hatred.
Everything that is was created in love.
Each atom, every blade of grass,
and most of all each human soul,
reposes in the assurance of divine, unalterable love.
Nothing will be lost. All will be restored.

“All? All?” I ask. “What, all?
Even those who turned their backs?
Even those who through free will
rejected you, the Will that gave them freedom?”

“Yes,” says the Lord, “all will be restored.
Nothing will be lost.”

“How, Lord?” I ask.
“How will they be redeemed
who turn away? How will their blind eyes see?
How will their hard hearts melt?”

God answers patiently, “Love will turn them ‘round.

My love turns stars, you know,
it turns the universe; and though a human heart is heavier in my eyes
than a thousand, thousand white dwarf cores,
my love will turn it; wait and see!
All will be restored. Nothing will be lost.”

“When, Lord?” I ask.
“When will the wound be healed?”
“Don’t you know, my Child?” God answers.
“The healing has begun.
It started with the coming of my Son.

This was the new beginning,
just as long before,
when through him all that is was made.
The healing has begun.
Nothing will be lost.
All will be restored.”

“Is it really that simple?” I ask. “Can the wound be healed with a touch?”
“The healing will take a bit longer,” God answers, then pauses.

“O.K., I’ll be honest; it’s you subcontractors, the partners in redemption with my Son.

The specifications are clear,
‘Love God and each other,’
and the plan is concise:
‘one house, many mansions.’

But you seem so intent on constructing outhouses, rock gardens and car parks!
Instead of a banqueting hall you construct fast-food stands!
There are times I regret I extended the work force past Yahweh & Son.
But what’s done is done.

The only thing in all my creation
I don’t mind losing is time.
I’ll have the job done right
if it takes forever,
and we’ll keep at it together until we get it right.

I am not a God of acceptable losses.
I won’t cut corners; cost overruns don’t phase me.
Nothing will be lost. All will be restored.”
And so, my beloved in Christ,

I give you this word:
now is the time for the children to grow up,
now is the time for the heirs to inherit.
Nothing will be lost.
All will be restored.
And now is the time.

The whole world is waiting,
the stars hold their breath,
the wild beasts and cattle regard us with growing impatience,
the birds hover over us, the fish all tread water,
the trees shrug in wonder, or stand limbs akimbo,
and deep in our hearts God’s Spirit is groaning:
“Be reborn, beloved, become what you are and the world will be free.”
The Spirit is crying:
“Look up to the light, your hearts will be whole
and the wound will be healed.”
The Spirit is singing: “My children, my children are home!”


Become what you are and the world will be free. And that, my brothers and sisters, is my prayer for each and every one of you on this day. That the healing risen in the wings of the one who loved us enough to become one of us will surround you, fill you, transform and empower you to be all of who you were created to be. That every part of your body, soul, mind and spirit will be restored to a place of health wholeness -- and will rest in the assurance of divine, unalterable love. That God will send each and every one of us out to be vehicles of God’s love, blessing and healing – out into a world yearning to be free – free of violence, hunger, fear and hatred. To be conduits of that power behind us that is greater than the challenge ahead of us.

Because now is the time for the children to grow up, now is the time for the heirs to inherit. Nothing will be lost. All will be restored. And now is the time.


uffda51 said...

LG, in the referenced thread, wrote

. . . not every human being is a 'Child of God.'


LG, we have endured multitudes of your mean-spirited posts, overflowing with religiosity and bibliolatry, and devoid of both humanity and spirituality. But you have surpassed yourself today.

The belief that we are not all children of God leads to genocide, slavery, injustice, bigotry, homophobia, and on and on.

One can only wonder what was done to you, and by whom, to create this disdain in your heart for so many of your fellow humans. One can only wonder how anyone can quote the Bible as often as you do and still have the missed the meaning of God’s message, by whatever name he is known, for the world.

LGMarshall said...

"Yet to all who Received him, to those who Believed in his name, he gave the Right to Become Children of God -- Children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but Born of God. " John 1.12,13.

see also....

'You must be Born again.'-- JN3.3

For heavens sake, I didn't say human beings don't have value! God values all his Creation, especially, Man, which he made in his image, and made for Relationship with Him.

God says [not me], that those that choose to have Relationship with Jesus, then 'become'...Children of God. [and not before]. Membership in God's family is by grace alone -- the gift of God. It is never a human achievement, yet the imparting of the Gift is dependent on human reception of it, as the words 'Received' and 'Believed' make clear.

I don't see how you can say that I have disdain in my heart for fellow humans... quite the opposite is true -- I want everyone to come to everlasting Life in Jesus -- by being Born Again, thereby becoming A Child of God. It's a wonderful thing!

I, respectfully, question your theology, that: 'All Human Beings belong to the Kingdom of God.' What about those that don't accept the Gift?

It's a Transaction. It doesn't make sense that those who do not wish to make a transaction, automatically become part of the transaction anyway? Are you saying there is no Free Will?

LGMarshall said...

God says, the wages of Sin is Death.... No one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is Born Again....The Gate is narrow and few will enter...The Road to Destruction is wide... etc.

Haller says all of the above is a Lie spoken by God?

The Bible has hundreds of instances of Final Judgment, Final Destruction, Death, Final Obliteration, Eternal Suffering & Torment in Hell for Eternity .

Is that all a Lie?

God HAS lost much. He lost his Son! and the sting is still there.

JCF said...

God says [not me],

Everything that follows, LGM, better appear ex nihilo carved in the Stone of Mt Sinai, or you're lying.

At MOST, when one says "God says..." you ALWAYS better cite Genesis 1:1 to the last verse of Revelation (every time you say "God says"!), or you're proof-texting. Proof-texting is the word-of-the-one-saying-it, NOT the word of God!

Nicole Porter said...

Why does EVERYTHING has to be listed as hate? So we can't even handle traditional and scriptural views on salvation anymore because it's too "hateful"? We have the choice to accept Christ or deny Him and suffer for it. I'm surprised there isn't a movement in our Church to just dump the Bible as it is right now and just let General Convention write up a new one.

Nicole Porter said...

How are LGM's posts mean-spirited? This is Christianity as it has been for 2,000 years, now everything has to be watered down because it has become too much of a challenge for a very small group of people to live by. Seriously, why not just make your own ecclesiastical community.

mommapolitico said...

Great poem - thanks for sending it along. Glad to hear you are fighting the good fight for marriage equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters. Though equality would serve all of us straight folks as well, in all honesty, for none is free until all are equal, really.
Keep the faith, and thanks for your writing.

rob said...

This dismissal of scripture (and Christian teaching) that God's grace is freely given -- to those who will receive it -- is fascinating. And yet you seem to see no hypocrisy nor contradiction in the views you state. Sort of, "THIS [universalism] is the kind of God of love I can believe in," thus by your own declaration conveniently rejecting the demands of Christ like (Jn 1:12-13) and yet imposing your views on the entire world whether they believe in a notion of a saving God or even a god at all.

Ann said...

Thanks for Tobias' poem -- and LG and MT -- guess we will all find out when we get there - in the meantime I am betting on our eternally loving God and not on a bunch of words collected to prove your point.


Well, THIS has been fun! :)

Heading home from Seattle "as I write" ... thankful for free airport wifi and good work done here over the last 24 hours.

Home to All Saints where we're getting ready to launch the publicity for our upcoming Lent Event:

BEYOND BELIEF: Giving up Religion for Lent

Stay tuned!

LGMarshall said...

By promoting the poem by Haller, you are holding up untruths to your flock.

I see that you are wholeheartedly endorse Haller, yet are quick to dismiss God's writings.

Haller contradicts God's teachings many times over...

1) 'none will be lost' -- False statement. In fact, 'Few shall enter the gates of God's Kingdom.'

2) 'Nothing God made deserves his hatred...' False. God has made some things that he hates, he does not separate the man from his sin, God judges Man on his sin. God hates satan, that he made.

3)'those that turn away will be redeemed'. False. If you turn your back on Jesus, you will not be Saved.

4)"The healing has begun...."-- False. Healing for Believers is instant!

5)'the 'Healing' started when he came in the flesh'. False.Since Adam & Eve -- all have had a chance for healing and redemption.

6.'can the wound be healed with a touch?' -- False. It's healed by Grace, thru Faith.

7)'the healing takes longer.. in fact You are part of the are partners in redemption with my Son '. False. That's blasphemy! We are NOT partners in Redemption -- where in the Bible does it say that?

8) 'when you are reborn... the world will be free'-- False. No it won't be free. Again, where in the Bible does it say that?

9)'I don't mind losing time.. I'll take forever if i have to..' False. God minds very much losing time! You have a short life span, the clock is ticking, You do not know when you will draw your last breath, and you do not know the time of his Return. He will not take forever, he has plans already in place.--

This poem, of false doctrine, sounds more like a dialogue between Oprah, Marianne Williamson, and AVATAR movie characters -- a far cry from Biblical Truth.

Just Me said...

LG, I also have to question why you continue to participate in the argument. It isn't an argument than anyone can win. The two sides just continue to badger each other. "Heretic". "Hater". "Heretic" "Hater" Is it ever going to stop? Why can't both camps go on their merry little way... as far away from the other as possible. There is no "communion" to save; you can't save somthing that doesn't exist.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Sorry to see that LG has not grasped the meaning of this poem.

He seems not to grasp that this is a poem about freedom and love -- of the children of God, redeemed by Christ's blood. "For as in Adam all died so also in Christ shall ALL be made alive." Don't ask me how, except by the love of God, who loved the world so much that he gave his son to the end that ALL who believe in him might have eternal life. This is God's promise, but LG seems to stop there.

Far be it from me to disparage God's hope: that all will be redeemed; to act as if God actually DID desire the death of sinners, rather than that they turn again and live. This is a poem about that hope, not about a certainty of universal salvation -- but a hope, and a trust in the irresistible grace of God.

Thanks for posting it Susan.

uffda51 said...

To those interested in playing "Dueling Proof Texts":

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32

How can the biblical literalists argue with "all people?"

I can't find where I used the word "hate" in my post or that anyone has disputed my contention that "The belief that we are not all children of God leads to genocide, slavery, injustice, bigotry, homophobia, and on and on."

I was raised in a church where it was considered vital that we memorize the names of the books of the Bible in order. Context was NOT vital. No one mentioned that Genesis is poetry, not history. No one mentioned that the Gospels were written decades after the crucifixion, were not written by eyewitnesses, and that the Gospels contradicted each other. No one mentioned that Paul did not write all of the letters attributed to him. In other words, the Biblical "revisionists" include the actual writers of the Bible. I don't know anyone in TEC who is suggesting we "dump" the Bible, just that we recognize it for what it is.