HEAVEN IN YOU
As a youth is was customary in my church to ‘sing the doxology’ whenever an event occurred to elicit praise to God. “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host: Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.” Following the hearty singing people would exult, ‘I could just imagine the angels singing this in heaven!’ or ‘Wont it be great when we get to heaven.’
HEAVEN IN YOU
But there is a very real sense in which heaven is here now. Many years later I experienced the presence of heaven in the church where we were singing praise to Jesus. The presence of God – the manifest presence of Jesus by the Spirit is real and life-giving. This is because it is His Spirit that changes us and His Spirit who is our fellowship with the divine right now.
Some might argue that we should not place too much emphasis on experience. They may do. But there is a difference in Christianity that is lived in the experience of the absence of God and an experience lived in His presence as both incarnational and manifested. If we are living from the law there is a fair chance that we are living from the absence of both.
Jesus declared that He would be with us and in us. Jesus also urged us to realise the great gain of the post cross era. ‘Realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV. Jesus is not hoping to amplify the law in anyone. He aims to be Himself in everyone so that each person will become who they are as sons of God.
God is not separated from His people. We do not live in a bifurcated, dualistic creation. There is no sacred and secular. Jesus has made all things one in Himself. Not only that, but Jesus is not constrained and confined in some heavenly compartment. He is with us and in us everywhere.
“Jesus has not left the human sphere; he is revealing the goal, the fullness, and the purpose of humanity itself, which is “that we are able to share in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), even in this wounded and wounding world. Yes, resurrection is saying something about Jesus, but it is also saying a lot about us, which is even harder to believe. It is saying that we also are larger than life, Being Itself, and therefore made for something good, united, and beautiful. Our code word for that is heaven.” (1)
Jesus declared that He and His Father were one. We declare today that We and Father are one in Jesus. We experience this intimacy when we live in Jesus rather than in some addition to Him or subtraction from Him or some dilution that we might call our perspective. Richard Rohr assures us that, ‘There is a clear affinity between human intimacy and divine intimacy.’ This is why we must live in union with our personal God and why we must not remain in the old covenant insulated from God, from ourselves and from each other. We all belong. But this belonging is ours in the mindset of the new covenant and never in the old. Conditioned by the law we will preach abstractions instead of spirit and life and will do this because we are not fully alive, never fully ourselves and always purveying a numbed view of God that gives rise to a crippled version of the self.
- (1) Rohr, Richard. Immortal Diamond: The search for our true self . SPCK. Kindle Edition.