Today is a public holiday here in South Africa: National Heritage Day sometimes known as National Braai Day because everyone loves barbecues. The holiday used to be known as Shaka Day after the great Zulu tyrant and warmonger. I am going to bath my puppies and make lunch for seven people. I am planning a stunning exotic Zanzibari dish centred on chick peas but my housemate has grilled steak in mind.
I was reading As Bill Sees It in the bath this morning, and felt soapy and encouraged by this:
‘We have found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him/Her. To us the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all-inclusive, never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men and women.’
That really does make me feel welcome and as if there is space for everyone in the fellowship. It reminds me why I so loved the Desert Father Origen when I studied patristiucs years ago. He believed in universal salvation, that everyone ever born would find his or her way home, to union with the Divine. After his death Origen was canonized and his work taught to many generations of believers. About a century after his death, somebody realised that universal salvation made hell unnecessary, and Origen was anathematized and branded as a heretic. But he remains a favourite of mine. Along with all the Desert Mothers who didn’t get honoured by the early Church.
No learning curve has ever surprised me as much as studying theology. I unlearned almost everything I thought I believed and it zapped some of the contempt I tend to assume prior to investigation.
Broad, roomy, all-inclusive. That makes me think of a long dinner table at which everyone is welcome and nobody goes hungry. With both chick peas and steak there for the taking.