Everyday Heaven – SheLoves, April 2015

It’s that time again – my monthly spot at that good, good place, SheLoves Magazine. You can begin this one here and follow the link at the bottom to get to the rest of it. The theme this month? “Thin Places”DSC03813

Several decades ago, I stopped talking about heaven as if it were ‘up there’ somewhere, in the ethereal blue sky, far away from the life we know here. Even though scripture uses that kind of metaphor frequently, I began to find it unhelpful. A metaphor is one thing — and believe me, I love a good metaphor — but when we begin to use the metaphor as our primary understanding or even description of the real thing? Well, that’s when the metaphor loses its power and can too easily become a stumbling block.

I’ll be honest here and admit that the pictures of heaven that were painted for me when I was a child were not particularly attractive. The idea of sitting around on a cloud, strumming a harp and singing non-stop just didn’t cut it with my 9-year-old self. And it doesn’t cut it with my 70-year-old self, either — and this self is a heckuva lot closer to actually seeing heaven than that 9-year-old was.

So when I took a course on Revelation in seminary, I was struck by the power of the worship described in that book and I was pushed to re-think my whole concept of an eternity spent with God. I began to wonder about all that non-stop singing and to question the sort of rootless, purposeless existence a cloud-sitting, harp-strummer would have to endure in the heaven-I-thought-I-knew.

Maybe heaven is a place where there are many good things to do, maybe even good work to do? The highly metaphorical language of Revelation tells us there are rivers and trees and a garden — so who cares for those? There is also a magnificent city, glistening in the light of an eternal sun — who keeps that place running? And there are all kinds of people there, streaming up the road to join in the celebration. Where will they live and what do they do?

Hmmmm . . . Maybe heaven is a place where the learning we begin here somehow continues, where we can try all different kinds of instruments and not get stuck with harps, where there will be lots of lovely things to look at and wonder about, to plan for and bring to fruition. Maybe heaven is a place of catching-up and catching-on, of finding exactly the right rhythm of working and resting, of discovering more and more layers to love and kindness and strength and wonder.

Now this is a heaven I can dream about and actually look forward to!

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Comments

  1. Enjoyed your cogitating on heaven, Diana! I like that idea of discovering more layers of love, kindness, strength, and wonder, when we get there. Perhaps there are more layers of serving God and enjoying him, too!

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