We are looking at heaven in these daily devotions and I, like the disciples who were there when it happened, wonder where Jesus went to when he ‘ascended into heaven’ (Acts 1:9 -11)? Was it an actual place and did it take Jesus further from us and nearer to his Father? And what about us, will we ‘go there’ too after our death? Pretty fundamental questions to ask really.
When Jesus talked about the kingdom of heaven, he talked about it being within us, here, (Luke 17:21) and at hand, now, (Mark 1:15). In John 3:29 Jesus describes himself as the bridegroom and eternity (the forever which Jesus inhabits) as the wedding banquet. This means we can dare to have union, connectedness, oneness with God….and it starts here and now and Jesus modelled how to do it!
Hang on, I thought this state of ‘being in heaven’ was delayed till death? Is it the reward later for right behaviour, even ‘salvation’, during life? That sounds like it will play into a fear-based or self-interested spiritual search. Or is it the state of being, here and now, for lovers of God and of others?
Is heaven a state of being where we let go of what our ego wants (often separation and superiority), where we die, as Jesus talked of in Mathew 16:25, to our self and find something so much better…..oneness with God? Where the ascended Jesus is not farther away from us but more intimately connected than ever.
‘’The death of our physical form is not the death of our personhood – which remains alive and well ‘hidden with Christ in God’ Colossians 3:3 and here and now we can draw strength from it and Christ to live our temporal lives with all the fulness of eternity’’ Cynthia Bourgeault
(Contributed by Juliet Hindson)