In dark and dangerous caverns stood,
A shackled form in chains.
With head downcast and trembling limbs,
He stood in abject pain.
His crime it seems was not so bad,
No human had he harmed.
A fine upstanding person, he,
It appeared his life was charmed.
But this was not a courthouse hall,
With marbled floors and wood.
This was not of worldly realm,
Where cringing, this man stood.
No, this was all his darkest fears,
Made manifest by view.
This was total emptiness,
The man was living through.
He felt that he'd been carried down,
From earth to darkest hell.
Where never any living man,
Had been, and lived to tell.
Shrieking laughter battered him,
And mockery filled the air,
He knew with sinking certainty,
His judgment would be fair.
He saw his captors' fangs exposed,
And felt their piercing stares.
Impatiently, they crouched nearby,
Prepared to rend and tear.
Protesting, I then turn to Host,
And asked him what came now.
I felt a heavy sense of dread,
As he turned from me, head bowed.
He motioned me to calm myself,
And turn my eyes below.
To witness an epic tale unfold,
And write, so all would know.
"What sin," cried he, "did I to you?"
And with that he began to sob.
"Nothing!" they applauded gleefully,
"In fact you did your job."
"You did not reach out to the poor,
Your talents were rarely shared.
Your busy life consumed you well,"
Their mocking screeches blared.
"Too busy were you, to serve your God,
Too carried away with toil.
Too self involved became your ways
To fill your lamp with oil."
As I looked on, I pitied him,
This unknown man, condemned.
In safety sat I, with silent host,
And smugly felt sorry for him.
My blood ran cold, my limbs grew weak,
And my heart began to lurch.
When looking up into my eyes,
I recognized the Church.
For this was not a nameless man,
On whom the judgment fell.
But you, and you, and you, and me,
Who were sentenced straight to hell.
"Host," cried I, "how blind I've been.
I've failed to do God's will.
I've passively been serving Him,
While serving Mammon, still."
"Is it too late to turn around,
And live my life for Christ?
Is it too late to forsake World,
To follow after Light?"
God smiled and walked into that hall
and took the hand of Church.
Amid the angered howls of hell,
denied a soul besmirched.
With groping claws they reached around,
To stay the man they hated.
Their fearsome shrieks showed Host and me,
Their hunger rose, unsated.
So side by side they left that hall,
Good Father and Freed Son.
Together they had tackled sin,
Their battle fought and won.
I turned around and looked at Host,
And determined never to be,
Again, found standing in that hall,
A shackled man, unfree.
As time draws short, with chances few,
To leave again, that hall.
O foolish ones, test not your Lord
Lest he rescue you not at all.
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?" The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me." They also will answer, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?" He will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life (Matthew 25:31-46).
For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).