Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hell on earth



I'm getting some positive feedback to my series of sermons on the Four Last Things. Two ladies in late middle-age told me after the most recent one they they thought it was important to hear about this topic.

'I've never heard anyone preach on them before,' said one.
'Nor have I,' said the other.

The next day, over a cup of coffee at someone's kitchen table, my host leaned forward.

'It's good that you're preaching about this,' he said, speaking in a confidential tone. 'Most people seem to forget about the Devil and Hell these days. They think they can pick and choose what they like from the Faith. They forget it is a package deal.'

Encouraged by that, I thought it no harm to start preparing for the next in the series: Heaven. As well as reading the usual weighty theological tomes, I thought I'd do a bit of a vox pop. So over a cup of tea with some elderly ladies yesterday I asked them what they thought Heaven was like.

'Well, I think we're in Hell right now,' said one. 'Hell is this life, so Heaven must be better.'
'That's right,' said another. 'There's so much suffering in this life it must be Hell.'
'That's a new one for me,' I said. 'So if we're already in Hell, does that mean everyone is going to Heaven when they die?'
'Most,' said the first. 'You'd have to be pretty bad not to.'
'Oh yes,' said the second. 'We carry the cross in this life. We deserve Heaven in the next.'

Some interesting theological speculation ... but of course, not exactly what the Church teaches! It does make me think it is all the more important to preach on these things ... 

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