20:12 ‘And I saw the dead small and great standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.’ 21:1 ‘Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. 9 ‘Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
And so it was that Sergeant Jesus lead our troop on an expedition up that great and high mountain to witness the holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven. The small and the great, the saved and the doomed all climbed up the mountain behind the only one who knew the way. We all knew that the doomed would never see New Jerusalem descend, but we were never absolutely sure who was doomed and so we all climbed together being guided by the commands of our leader.
Sometimes as we climbed, for relief from the struggle, in unison we recited prayers to God on high: Our Father who art in heaven. Marching and praying marching and praying. How did he know, that Sarge of ours, which hiker prayed from the mouth and not the heart? A little tap on the shoulder to remind the perpetrator to chew on what his mouth was saying. And again, I’d hear the bellow, “FoCUS, two three four.”
Evening camp, moments always too fleeting for cozy rest, meant more work for Sergeant Jesus for they were the infirmary hours for sick and lame.
“Be healed now” and then “but go and sin no more.” I heard him say to the repentant ill, wondering how it was that Jesus never sneezed or coughed.
When once He heard too much grumbling in the ranks, back biting, back stabbing from those who got the hang of climbing, megaphone firmly in hand the troop was ordered to stop before another breath.
“This is NOT a suggestion.” Megaphone high enough for all to hear, a hundred miles around. “Do not judge, criticize or condemn your fellow travelers. Or to the fires you will go. When eyes are on the others, they are obviously not where they belong, watching steps lest you fall and roll back down this mountain. We will not come after you. I repeat, if your eyes are focused on your neighbor and not the road beneath your feet, with obstacles a plenty, when you fall, and of that there is no doubt, down the hill you’ll land. No one reaches the top leaping over the faults of another.”
I don’t know when it first occurred to me that Sergeant Jesus was leading his bride to the altar.