Heaven, because it has none of the challenges that we face today because all conflict will be gone, frames our current life as it is supposed to be. Life in heaven is the model. Jesus explained that we live heaven without concern for wealth or health. He goes into great detail. Wealth may be a more challenging hill for living a holy life.
Yet, no financial position nor any range of health can change the particulars of heaven that we have in our hands.
Image by FelixMittermeier
By John Pearring
Ezekiel, a very complicated and mystical scripture, offers us insights about our coming life in heaven that often pops up in the psalms and other prophetic writings. The list is relatively short in today’s reading, but each image presented by Ezekiel (some argue that his disciples wrote today’s verses) fulfills a yearning that can relate to everyone.
It is not just OK but essential to reflect upon heaven. The dreamy experience of imagining heaven should not make us angry with our life today, nor should it take us away from reality. Heaven’s vision should transform our lives now, not just be ready for heaven. To live heaven now.
Life for many who live in prosperity is good, and that’s wonderful. Life for the poor or diseased can be more holy than that of a wealthy or healthy person. The second truth of holiness in illness and hunger rings true more than we believe. Neither wealth nor health is improper. Destitute and ill are improper. Yet, in any version of existence, the yearning for heaven can be lived out now. By any one of us. In community, by all of us.
Heaven, because it has none of the challenges that we face today because all conflict will be gone, frames our current life as it is supposed to be. Life in heaven is the model. Jesus explained that we live heaven without concern for wealth or health. He goes into great detail. Wealth may be a more challenging hill for living a holy life. Yet, no financial position nor any range of health can change the particulars of heaven that we have in our hands.
We are to all be similarly loved by God in heaven. That is as it is now.
We are to all be friends in heaven. That is as it is now.
We are to all cooperate with God in heaven. Same mantra.
We are to all know God’s order and revel in it in heaven. Again, same now as it will be then.
The picture of heaven only takes shape in our minds if we dwell upon what God has said about it. The most telling of today’s verses, words through Ezekiel from God, describes a Utopia that fulfills all of our dreams.
No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols,
their abominations, and all their transgressions.
I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy,
and cleanse them so that they may be my people
and I may be their God.
The deliverance from our sins and our idols is already available to us. The cleansing of our hearts and souls is also within reach. We are the people of God, who is our only God.
It’s bizarre how powerful the transformation of our world through God can be. Not just “can be,” though. The shift is already and always taking place.
We can attribute good things to strong people standing up to evil, or we can see that God living freely in us thwarts evil altogether. Like the child who trashes their plate of food or throws hard objects at their siblings, the aggressions of evil are only tantrums against goodness. Goodness does not go away.
We clean up the messes. We comfort the injured sibling. We hug and hold the wild-eyed, possessed child.
I will make with them a covenant of peace;
it shall be an everlasting covenant with them,
and I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever.
My dwelling shall be with them;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
God never abandons us. He is not idly standing by. Rather than keep a naughty list, God showers us with graces and blessings to transform our grasp of what matters — his love, his comfort, his cleansing, and his gathering us together.