I could never get much excited by the notion
of Paradise / heaven / the hereafter.
It sometimes seems to be a construct of the church,
attached to the teachings of Jesus
and distracting us from his command
to get on with the work of love.
At best, it is a bit-player, thrust
on to the centre-stage, to claim the spotlight.
There it assumes the role
of an all-controlling Master of Ceremonies
through whom ecclesiastical authorities,
popes, priests and everybody in-between,
direct the thinking and the behaviour
of the masses. If you want to get there,
as opposed to the other place,
remember; we hold the keys!
It suited, too, the civil authorities
with its message of divinely ordered patience.
No need for revolution, in Paradise
you will receive your reward / recompense
for all the indignities, pains and brutalities
suffered during your earthly sojourn!
In Luke’s story of the passion
the word is placed upon the lips
of the cross-suspended Jesus,
as he responds to the justice and compassion
of a fellow criminal. Truly I tell you,
today you will be with me in Paradise.
To die with Jesus; perhaps this
is the proper meaning of Paradise.
© Ken Rookes.
Another poem for The Reign of Christ Year C can be found here