Wednesday, 18 July 2018

The Immigration Policy of Heaven

Intrigued by a tweet by a Fox News presenter, Carla D'Addesi:

"Heaven has a wall with strict immigration policies. Hell has open borders."

Now obviously this got me thinking about Heaven's immigration policies.

First thing to consider is that heavenly wall, of course. It's definitely there in Scripture. What Donald Trump might call a bigly, beautiful wall. Except that while Trump's wall still only exists in his imagination, the heavenly wall is studied with precious stones.

Of course the heavenly city has walls. A wall is what defines a first-century city. A wall is uncontroversial. Let's talk about the gates. Those bigly, beautiful gates. Made each of a single, huge, wonderful pearl.  Goodness knows where God found oysters that big. But then God's creativity has no end.

The gates have a flaw. Well, gems often do, don't they? These gates have the same problem that my old nan's gate used to have. They don't close. My nan's gate just used to warp in bad weather. But these just don't need to, as there is no night. And when there is no fear, who needs to shut the gate? Heaven is, apparently, like the houses of old London Town, where you could all leave the doors open and nobody would ever thieve. The gates are always open, so you can just wander in. In my Nan's street this was actually because nobody had anything of value. But here - it's because everything's free.

But there's obviously an immigration policy. Because St John tells us who's not in the city. Now it's not a racial exclusion policy. Because "The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it." That's right. Including Mexicans. But you can't get in if you're deceitful, or apparently if you're an adulterer. Hard words for some.

But Jesus also gives us an illustration of the entry processes. And first up, it feels a bit like those channels at the airport. One says "EU, EAA and Swiss Citizens" or some such  and the other, is for the others. Obviously after Brexit the signs will say "People who are like us" and "People who aren't". And one channel will be empty because British people will no longer be able to afford to fly. And the other will be empty because who would want to come to a bitter, self-hating, others-hating, impoverished place? But I'm sure the Executive lounge will still be busy. But I digress. That's Brexit Britain. Let's talk about the New Jerusalem.

So there's a fast-track into the kingdom of Heaven. A lovely passport for the natural born citizens. Maybe it's even blue. And those that get the fast-track are, we're told, tax-collectors, prostitutes, and children (who seem to get their own, native, representatives in the immigration process). Unprotected women, orphans, refugees get favourable treatment. Immigrants and refugees just wander in - after all, God used to be one. Maybe God still is.

And then - funny thing, a bit like some tax havens. You can be a citizen if you've large amounts invested in heavenly securities. Basically it's an exchange rate thing. Build up your treasure on earth and it's subject to a sudden depreciation. But if your treasure is invested in heaven they'll let you in. And if you've looked after  the Lord of Heaven on earth - whether he was hungry, thirsty or in prison - he'll let you in. But be careful. He may not have looked too kingly.

And I know what you're going to say. Just wander along with your "Salvation by Faith" visa and you'll be through the executive lounge before you know it.  But do you know how many questions St James will need you to answer before you get through that way? Forget St Peter and his keys. It's James and his clipboard you'll have to worry about.

The nasty tweet that inspired this has a nasty response. A cartoon of a line of well-ordered Americans waiting to be checked off by St Peter, while a Mexican goes over the wall. Well  apart from the hint that Trump's wall is gonna be no use if he ever finds someone to pay for it - that's what Jesus says happens as well. They'll (we'll?) all be queuing up neatly to be let in for being nice and white and respectable - and those who get  nothing in this world  will go over the wall, sneak through the gates - even clutch on the coat-tails of a scruffy Jewish prophet.

Oh yeah. The Jews. Did I mention how you've got to become a part of them to get in? It is the new Jerusalem, after all.

Me? I'll be praying to get in as one that escapes from fire. My claim to citizenship will be that I know the king and he's paid my fare for me. And I pray he nods me through on that basis. But here's my conclusion.  Hell has open borders, because someone broke the wall down one Friday night. But it's a free country, is Hell. You don't have to leave if you don't want to. And the gates of Heaven are wide open. The immigration policy is terribly lax. But you've got to be prepared to love your fellow-citizens. And God knows, they're a disreputable lot. Maybe some would rather stay in the other place.

1 comment :

  1. The concept of heaven and hell has been used for generations to keep us on our toes. And the new Jesusalem, off course, won't be divided into East and West as is the Earthly one, and it won't have any Star Bucks or Costa Coffee, as it will all be on tap, free at the price point.

    And we will be reunited with our pets, cats and dogs and even those relations, we fought with here (if their passport of forgiveness has been issued).

    Revelation gives us a clue, and St James will be a fatherly figure at the gate, with a Welcome badge and his clip board will just have the word Welcome on it.

    As for the other place, take a loaf to toast, because you'll need it if your passport has expired and has the corner cu off (as the Passport Office does here on earth).

    So, advice to all is to renew your passport while you have time, or if you are a migrant, make sure you have a ladder ready to scale the walls of heaven.


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