"Borders, Fences and Chasms"
February 26, 2014
And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us. Luke 16:26
In his poem, "Mending Wall," Robert Frost quotes his neighbor as saying, "Good fences make good neighbors." Mr. Frost doesn't much agree with that idea, and there was a time in my life when I didn't either.
Still, there is some truth in the idea that good fences and good borders make for good neighbors.
Sometimes, like the borders between Israel and the countries which surround her, they can mark real differences in religion, morality, philosophy and geographical claims. Then there are borders like that which separates North and South Korea. That border keeps separate two nations with two completely different political systems. And if you're wondering just how different are they ...?
Well, they are so different that for months those divergent nations have been thinking about talking about the possibility of allowing controlled reunions between a few of the families, which were separated when the border went up in the 1950s. Everyone involved with this process understands such a gathering is not guaranteed nor certain. Even so, the talks provide hope for members of the older generation who wish to see loved ones one last time before they die.
Of course, not all borders are earthly. Scripture speaks of another border: the chasm which separates heaven from hell. That border has been in existence longer than any other. To the best of my knowledge that chasm has only been crossed once, and that was on Resurrection Sunday when the Christ, having descended into hell, rose from the dead.
It would be impossible to list the differences that exist between those two places. One is filled with joy and jubilation, the other with sadness and sorrow. One echoes with songs of praise, and the other the moans of those who are in agony. The inhabitants of one place acknowledge the great love and grace of God, which has brought them there, and the other has souls that eternally long for a second chance, a second chance which will never come.
Understand, it is not the Triune God's fault that those lost souls languish as they do. It was His desire that all people be called to faith in His Son, who gave His life so all of humanity's sins might be removed and they might be forgiven. Not only did the Lord sacrifice His Son for our salvation, He also extended an invitation to "Believe, be baptized, be saved." (See Mark 16:16.)
It was an offer made without cost to the recipient and remains in effect as long as that individual is alive. Yes, God made a long-standing, but not an everlasting, offer to us. To share that offer to the world is why your denomination, your church, your school, Lutheran Hour Ministries does what it does.
We want to make sure no soul has to spend eternity contemplating and cursing the chasm that separates them from heaven.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that by Jesus' blood I have a home in heaven. Now may I reach out to those who are headed for the other side of the chasm. Bless my words and let these people see, while there is time, how bad things are on the other side. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries