Universal salvation?

Todays Scriptures: Exod 2:23 – 3:15, 1 Cor 13:1 – 13, Mark 9:14 – 29

Drawing closer to Pasha, to Easter, I can not avoid to start thinking about salvation ( from Lat salvus meaning whole, sound or intact.) If we look at the world with sober eyes we see that the world are in a state of Lent. The world is in a state of suffering and awaiting its resurrection. The rich people of the world has a hard time seeing this because they do not experience physical suffering or need (but many has an identity crises when they get sick… hmm). But the poor people of the world knows that the world needs to be restored, they need to be saved. Their hunger, their hurt, their loneliness and their pain has made them realize that they are not whole. They are not intact, they are not sound. I myself had the hardest time seeing that I was in a state of despair because I had my physical needs covered. I couldnt see that I needed salvation. But I was put through pain that made me realize that the opposite is true. And if we are honest, all of us goes through life bouncing into those things that just are hard and painful. And this pain, this suffering of ours has led our thoughts towards the following questions. Why this pain  and suffering if there is a good God? Would not a good God desire for everyone to be saved and to be without pain? Is not God (if there is one) very angry cruel and mean when He allows for all this pain to continue?

But pain is one of the last resorts for God to remind us that without Him there is no wholeness, peace, intactness or salvation. Pain is the smoking gun of that something is wrong. And remember , it is not God that inflicts pain but rather it is humanity that refuses to turn to God for help. Pain is always redemptive if we choose let God deal with the pain. This experience of pain, and the incorrect handling of it has led to many evil things. The pain of loneliness has led to distorted relations. The pain of death has led to a hunt to remain young forever (at any cost). The pain of sickness and hunger has led to a very big injustice concerning the distribution of the worlds resources. The pain of betrayal has led to many acts of vengeance. The pain is there, this we know. How do we handle it correctly? The first we need to realize is that pain is just a signal, it is not the actual wound. It will remain in us if we do not heal the wound properly. We need both healing on the surface (physical) and healing within (spiritual). And there is only One that can transcend both those realms because he is both human and divine. We can not do it ourselves (which we tend to believe).

The pain in some people has even made them claim that the Healer is only there for “us”. The Healer of our souls only desire certain people to be saved, to be whole. They use a language that proclaims that Gods saving power is dependent on the faith formula they make up. But the God I believe in actually said that he desires all people to be saved. And who am I to go against Gods desire? God has made it very clear that He came to the world to save that which was lost (that means everyone because all of us where/is lost, we still have pain right?). So who am I to put a limit on Gods grace with my limited knowledge? False religion is dangerous because it puts a legal requirement on salvation. The Greeks seek wisdom and the Jews require a sign but we (the Christians) preach Christ crucified. All those formulas of human wisdom and religion are empty without Christ. Christ preaches true religion with His life. He helps the poor, he feeds the hungry, he touched the lonely and He sacrifices Himself so that we can have life. This is true religion. And it is true religion that will heal the world. When we start to do those thins, healing (salvation) becomes real does it not?

So will everyone in the world be saved? (universal salvation) I do not know. It is not really my task to know. I know some people will continue to walk the way of pain. Probably in this life and the next. I know some people will start to walk the way towards healing, towards salvation in this life and the next. I know that the more people who does this, the more people get helped. I also know that God desires everyone to walk on this latter path. So I, in my smallness and very limited knowledge, can just not see how I can refuse to have the possibility everyone’s salvation open. To have this door open (like many church fathers before me had) makes me slower to judge others I realize. It makes it easier to see others as children of the same Father. Yes, they may walk a different path right now but who am I to say that the Lord of time and space  can’t  shift some roadblocks around?

So today at the annunciation, when we are reminded of Mary and Her response to carry the Salvation of the world within herself, let us also respond with the same attitude. Let us carry Love within ourselves so that we may spread salvation and healing to as many as we encounter. Let us have Christs attitude towards the broken. The attitude of gentle healing.

In Christ,

Fr. Jakob

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