Sheep and Goats

The point of this story is not the division of one group from another, as the, self-proclaimed, righteous insist,
but is about the support of the poor, powerless and needy, those on the margins "the least of my brothers".

The metaphoric picture of hell-fire, and the judgement seat,
is a product of the false principles of the ancient world;
the product of a theology based on revenge for wrongs
which Jesus has been trying to undermine.

The vision of vengeful justice and end-times judgement
comes from the same false perspective.

Some people find such judgemental ideas foundational to their concept of divinity
They cling to ideas of retributive vengeful justice at a post death judgement seat
rather than seeing justice as the support of the poor and needy.
This is not justice as "retribution" but as "distribution",
everyone receiving a fair share.

After we have discarded medieval concepts, based on then-current law courts,
we are left with a different view of this parable, the message that it truly proclaims.
We hear the call of God to care for our neighbour and the consequences of not doing so.

This parable states baldly that personal salvation has nothing to do with acceptance of a belief system
or praying a prayer or taking communion or being baptised, but is all about how we treat each other.
About whether we contribute to the food bank, night shelter, refugee relief, collection bags.
About whether we grab the biggest slice of cake at table, take the best seat in the lounge.
About how we behave.

All of this is especially true at times when we don't realise that God, or our neighbour, is watching what we do.
Especially when our behaviour is from the heart, not based on following the rules, even the rules that God laid down for us.
Our external behaviour is only a reflection of how we are inside, and it is what is inside that forms our interface to God.
It is only through the indwelling Spirit that our behaviour can be changed, can become Godly,
and it is only through the indwelling Spirit that we shall be saved;
whatever such salvation actually means.

Listening to God's Spirit may take us down some strange avenues,
but it opens the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven,
leads us also to love our neighbour as ourself
and to respond practically to that love.