From the Same Bible

To the one, Christianity is a status gained in a moment—
A door prize acquired simply for having been
In the right place at the right time—
A label by which to confirm himself henceforth—
A guarantee that nothing could go too badly wrong—
For as long as he himself does not peel off the label!
He declares himself a citizen of the eternal kingdom
While still living in his own worldly country
And counts it a fact on the testimony
Of his own say-so.

To the other, it is a lifetime of commitment and discovery—
Of seeking and learning—
Of overcoming oneself and of putting others first—
Of living according to God, and not the flesh—
Of coming around to Jesus’ way of seeing things
And his way of life—
Of wrestling with the wisdom of the ages—
And of working the same long puzzles over which
So many have puzzled before—
And of striving to be found worthy at long last
By the Judge of all judges to enter that rest
In that Heavenly Jerusalem—
That second world of two—
In a country not his own.

And one wonders how it is that the two
Are reading from the same Bible—
But what is happening is that
They tend to see in it only
What they want to see,
And ignore the rest
As if it might
Go away—

The one
Seeking only
To justify himself
By way of the scriptures
And the other longing to find
The whole of the limitless Creator.

And if you haven’t figured it out just yet,
These two stand at the extremes of those who
Will claim the religion for themselves—
A great many others falling
Somewhere between.

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