Heaven and Earth #2
Hi church family! Today we continue on in the heaven and earth series by looking at the many ways in which heaven is described in the Bible. While traditional art frequently gives us the idea that heaven is some majestic place in the clouds with golden streets and angels flying around rocking out with their harps.
(Heaven according to Google Images)
However, Biblically speaking heaven is a varied concept and even God's positioning in relation to heaven is somewhat ambiguous scripturally. I believe that considering heaven from different angles not only opens our minds to the other aspects of God that we believe to be concrete but also allows us to think of the kingdom of God, the presence of our past loved ones, and the presence of God in our world in different ways. With that said, let's jump into scripture and then consider some questions below.
Scripture to Read
Deuteronomy 26:15 OR Isaiah 66:1
Questions to Consider
What was similar about the aforementioned scripture? What was conflicting?
Do you believe there are moments where / when heaven and earth overlap presently? What do those moments look like for you?
Tomorrow we'll spend more time looking at some stories of how heaven and earth overlap within scripture and consider options on how we can create more of those opportunities in our current day. However, as a prompt for personal consideration, one of the moments that I believe heaven and earth overlapped and God's presence was felt was during my wedding ceremony with McKinsie. Being gathered around family and friends cumulated through a lifetime who all shaped me to the man I am today and being officially brought into union with someone that I had grown to love so deeply simply felt like the perfect day. Sure, lots of stress went into making the day happen, but for those 3-4 hours it felt like what heaven would look like - joy, family, dancing, laughter, and endless love. Perhaps for you that overlap occurs during holiday times or maybe the bedside of a loved one as they are passing on. Just this unexplainable comfort as the presence of God sits with you.
Praying through Praise
Our prayer for today is Abide with Me. As you can see in scripture today God's dwelling place is varied but the end goal of heaven is for us to abide with God at all times. Let's sing this hymn of praise as a declaration to God that we too seek that goal.
1 Abide with me: fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
2 Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day; earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away. Change and decay in all around I see. O thou who changest not, abide with me.
3 I need thy presence every passing hour. What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power? Who like thyself my guide and strength can be? Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.
4 I fear no foe with thee at hand to bless, ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness. Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still, if thou abide with me.
5 Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes. Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies. Heaven's morning breaks and earth's vain shadows flee; in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.