Yesterday I posted on hell; not fun to write. Today I promised heaven and wonder if it will be as difficult to create. I certainly can write about “longing” for heaven.
Today a cold rain continues to fall with the promise of snow tomorrow. The calendar says spring, yet my physical surrounding says “not yet.” I long for the green and warmth of spring, for the hope of life renewed.
I think yearning for heaven is an appetite within us. C. S. Lewis wrote extensively about this yearning or desire in his autobiography, Surprised by Joy. Lewis argued that just like a man in a desert longs for water, so we, as creatures made for heaven, yearn for God’s joyful presence. This yearning is an indication that we are not just material creatures, but have a spiritual dimension. How could this spiritual yearning have developed out of only material longings? We are spiritual beings seeking our spiritual home.
Rob Bell argues in Love Wins that Jesus came to reconnect heaven and earth.
What Jesus taught, what the prophets taught, what all of Jewish tradition pointed to and what Jesus lived in anticipation of, was the day when earth and heaven would be one. The day when God’s will would be done on earth as it is now done in heaven. The day when earth and heaven will be the same place. As it’s written at the end of the Bible in Revelation 21: “God’s dwelling place is now among people.”
Lewis and Bell both believe that Jesus accomplished the reconnection in his life, death and resurrection. Though we do not fully experience heaven on earth, we do have a taste of the heavenly joy while living in this life. We begin to become what God created us to be. And in death we become even more alive in God. Paul writes about this letter of joy, Philippians 2:21. “To live is Christ, and to die is to gain” or as Eugene Peterson translates it in the Message “Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.”
In what ways have you tasted heaven here on earth?
My kids – and lots of other children too . . . they bring heaven into my life, again and again. (Off to chaperone 60 + high school students . . . we’ll see how heavenly this is 😉 !