At the end of history, humanity will co-exist in the reign of God. This statement emerged from a downtrodden people. These people were mistreated and knew that God had to intervene and set things right. This was apocalyptic writing. Some in the community prayed for this inevitability every day. Some wanted a final separation of sheep from goats. Yet, what did God desire?
In the whole of scripture, does God yearn only for the sheep? Does God seek unity? God seeks the just and the unjust. All have been counted righteous in the eyes of the Mysterious God. God wants humanity to admit its flaws not for God’s sake but for humanity’s sake. Once humanity admits its flaws, it can heal. Tears can be wiped away. Healing and wiping of tears are sacred work that is on par with the excellence of God. It is part of God’s creating and creation. Our tears meld with the mysterious God’s trillions of rivers of tears expressed by God over humanity throughout the ages.
The $64,000 question is, why bother with a Christian lifestyle now if humanity will experience salvation anyway? Delaying the conversion from a self-destructive existence to a life-affirming mindset will lead to suffering. Participating in the struggle to understand God, neighbor, and self will alleviate harm. Yes, humanity could put off turning to God, but that later turn would be a horrible day as humanity wailed for its sins. As individuals turn toward God, their core is rattled by every touch of God, every deep question being answered, and every weight of wrong doing being uncovered.
Ancient writers outlined humanity’s human story and included the resolution in the Book of Revelation. They used the imagery of the sheep and the goats. Humanity acts as both throughout its existence. Having a narrow view of our identity is shortsighted. The mysterious God enfolds love around us squirming, mischievous humans. We are a delight to the mysterious God.
Quinton Jefferson, Adjunct Assistant Instructor of Theology at Thomas More University, is a member of Christ Church Cathedral.