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The Parable of the Lost Raffle Ticket
So That Our Joy Will Be Full
Sipping coffee, listening to soulful music, a memory from decades ago, of a childhood experience struck my consciousness. I had lost my raffle ticket while attending my Dad’s office Christmas party.
I had been having lots of fun playing with stranger’s kids, I had just recently gotten acquainted to, not even knowing their names. I was so absorbed in playful bliss, I completely lost track of my raffle ticket. And so, lost the chance to possibly win---perhaps a toy fire truck, a dollhouse, …?
Back to the present, I wondered how it would have felt as a kid bringing home a dollhouse instead of the consolation prize of box of chocolates, which seemed to have no lasting effect on the memory. Or so it seems.
It somehow struck me that the consolation prize was a soul metaphor for the experience of non-believers. According to the after-death experience Betty Eadie described, while passing through what she perceived as darkness, she could feel the warmth of God’s love and felt the presence of others still there who were not yet willing to move to the Light.
My guess is that the corollary of the metaphors for the tangibles dollhouse, toy fire truck and other concrete gift items, would be our “tangible” experience of heaven as we decide to move toward the Light. Who knows? (The metaphors were probably the reason why the childhood memory surfaced as I ruminated to the tune of soulful music.)
And if we are his followers, then I should think, we subscribe to his paradigm of a new heaven and a new earth. As mentioned in my previous article, Heaven and the Omniscient Man: A Theory, who knows what heaven or the new earth would be like? But contemporary sages have suggested for us to, although be accepting of present reality, envision an ideal future and express this as “a preference” (prayer) to God. I somehow tend to think of it as expressing our highest ideals.
What would the new earth look like to you?
What would the new earth look like to you? No more traffic? No more jostling through the crowded subway? No more poverty and hunger? No wars? No violence? No more injustice?
Good. But even greater perhaps is if we could go through our daily experiences, observing the “negatives” (accepting) then stating the possibility in the positive. An example in your present experience, you see an old lady struggling on the street with a heavy load but you are somehow unable to reach out to assist her. You accept your feeling of helplessness and compassion and blurt in the negative, “no more hardship for the weak”. Replace the blurt with “the weak shall always have access to all the help they need.” You can be more creative by replacing the blurt with something else like “all will be empowered through love and compassion.”
The weak is a general term and can be used to mean “lacking the capacity to perform.” We all have our own incapacities, but I have a feeling that one of the heaviest would be the incapacity to believe. In this sense, we should reach out with love and compassion to non-believers. It is possible that they are facing one of the heaviest trials on earth and need our love and prayers most. It is difficult to determine what factors, hereditary or environmental, possibly initiated before earth time, may have caused for them to somehow have difficulty believing Jesus.
So That Our Joy Will Be Full
We can all remember the parable of the lost sheep. “And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:12–14) Having our lost brother back I’m sure not only translates to our Father’s happiness but a reciprocal welling up of joy in our hearts as well, like we do in family reunions.
Visualizing the Ideal Community
You may think this is a waste of time, but try to give it a try before giving it up. I tried it for a day and it does wonders. It gives a positive aura to your experience of the day.
· Families bonded through God’s truth and Spirit
· Parents and children loving and respecting each other
· Teachers and students in reciprocal acts of learning and teaching
· Neighbors looking out for each other
· Various cultures and nationalities mingling in joy, love and peace, freely visiting each other’s domicile
· Cars and buses freely provided to those who have the current need, passed on to the next in line
· And so on
I would imagine there would be no need for policing of people …
In summary, here are some daily tasks that we may want to include in our list:
1. Visualize the ideal community
2. Pray for the non-believers, especially refraining from a judgmental attitude since with whatever measure we judge others, we so judge ourselves. Let’s leave judgment to God, who alone knows what is in the hearts of people.
3. Pray for ourselves to be steadfast in faith, hope and love.
The First Will Be the Last and the Last Will Be the First
The memory of that lost raffle ticket seemed insignificant in the past. It came back with the power of its metaphor over four decades later.
God’s ways are not man’s ways. It turns out in the end, four decades later, that the initially insignificant consolation prize was the best prize for me. It has turned out to be “The Parable of the Lost Raffle Ticket” on hubpages.
In the earthly realm, you may be feeling insignificant but in God’s eyes it is as if you are his only child. In the master plan, remember that your every thought, feeling and gesture counts. You are that important, even if you may not perceive so.
Visualize your highest ideal and be your highest self.
Excerpt from “Imagine” by John Lennon:
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...