Good day church family and friends! Yesterday we focused on the different ways in which heaven is described in the Bible with what we traditionally think of on the topic. For example, we saw that heaven is both the sole dwelling place of God and yet also that God is not confined to heaven. While scripture might differ on where or what Heaven is exactly it is remarkably similar on where heaven and earth overlap with one another. That's what we'll be exploring today through scripture and taking some time to consider some questions.
I'll share some personal reflections below, but for now let's get your opinions by reading the suggested scripture below.
Scripture to Read
The theme of these scripture passages is that God meets us in the temple (church) and that while God is not contained to heaven or even the temple it's where God meets us. Even Jesus (who was God!) knew to go to the temple in order to "be with His Father." With that said I do believe this plays a role in why religious faith and affiliation is at an all time low as what is considered a "regular attendee" of church is once every 6 weeks. (https://news.gallup.com/poll/341963/church-membership-falls-below-majority-first-time.aspx) In other words, while I do believe that one can have a "spiritual" experience on a run, in the woods, on a mountaintop, or anywhere else in God's creation - I do believe that to fully encounter God we must meet God where God has said He would meet us - the temple.
If the divine plan is to bring heaven and earth into complete unity then we get a glimpse of what that world looks like whenever we are in church. The way the music moves our souls, the taste of communion, the smell of incense or a candle, or the calm that fills our minds in silent or corporate prayer. And if this is heaven on earth than we are joined by the saints in heaven as well within the temple. I recall a church member that told me a story that they cry every time we sing "How Great Thou Art" in church because they believe that their mother is singing it with them as she used to hum it to them before bed every night. So, when you are missing a beloved saint or just needing the presence of God I hope you'll join us in the temple (church) on Sunday. I promise you'll feel better for doing so. (Unless of course I say something offensive! Haha.)
Questions to Consider
Journal about a time where you felt "heaven on earth." What made it so?
What is a church hymn or praise song that always moves you? Why?
Aside from church where else have you felt the presence of God? How was that experience similar to your best church experience? How was it different?
Praying through Praise
If church is the place where God (and the saints) meet us than I think this praise song is perfect for that image. It's a simple song, yet effective, as it asks us to consider "what would you do if Jesus walked into church while you were there?" Consider what your own reaction would be as you let your soul be moved by this song.
Okay, I can't just pick one because they are both too good for this. This other song from Elevation starts with the lyrics "There is a kingdom seated among us, where there is praise he will be found." and that's too good to not use either. Pick one, or both. :)