After many years of working on his writing project, a scholar published a fine paper on serving poor people. Then he died. At the gate of heaven St. Peter couldn’t find his name on the list for entrance. “No one here seems to know you,” he told the scholar. The scholar replied, “But I spent the best years of my life producing a fine paper about serving poor people, and went to church often, and even memorized a few scriptures.”
Peter said, “The Boss created an exception for people not on the list. Tell us the name of one of your poor friends and you can come join the party.” Dismayed, the scholar walked away into oblivion.
After many years of joyfully running a food pantry in her neighborhood an old black woman died. She met St. Peter at the gate of heaven protesting, “I don’t deserve to come in. Why, I haven’t been to church in years. I can’t remember the last time I heard a sermon, and I can’t quote any of the sacred writings.”
Peter responded, “The Boss has made an exception for those who are sermons and scriptures. And besides, your poor friends have been adding your name to the list for years. Everyone here seems to know you, especially the sex addicts and prostitutes, the mentally ill, the homeless veterans, the immigrants, the uneducated and unloved. So welcome Home!”
The old woman went in and joined the joyful party.
This parable is a warning for writers like me. May we become sermons first, and then write them if we must.
For more stories like this, pray that I will find the right publisher for the next book: The Gate of Heaven Is Everywhere: Searching for the Wild Divinity!