Heaven or eternity is the fulfilment of human existence, created by God in his own image, and to think of heaven gives our present earthly life perspective.
Others will associate heaven as an experience - given through music, art, the natural world and so on. There are so many different interpretations of heaven but a prayer that I find suits my faith and belief in God is the prayer of John Donne:
Bring us O Lord God at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven
To enter into that gate and dwell in that house where there shall be no darkness, nor dazzling, but one equal light
No noise nor silence, but one equal music
No fears nor hopes, but one equal possession
No ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity in the habitations of thy glory and dominion, world without end Amen
As we approach Advent, the time of waiting and anticipating the coming of Christ into the world, we can feel the creative tension of God's great love and care for us all.
With these thoughts may I wish you all a happy and blessed Advent and Christmas and a very happy New Year.
HEAVEN - ‘a place believed to be the abode of God and of the righteous after death’. Is this how we think of heaven?'asks Rev Dilys
At one of our regular midweek communion services, one of the set readings was from the book of Revelation (21:1-7). In my brief reflection on the reading, I began by saying that the 'New Jerusalem' that John was writing about was his vision of what 'heaven' as a concept might be like ie a place where there would be no more death or mourning, or crying or pain, because God would make everything new.
Heaven as a place up in the outer regions of space is still a popular concept. Children will accept that when we die we go to heaven, wherever or whatever that might mean, but essentially they are comforted and reassured that heaven is a place of safety where God's love enfolds the dead.
However, when we try to constrain our own vision of heaven or description of eternity in human thought and understanding, we will inevitably fail.
The discussion that was sparked by the reading gave insight into the different ways we think of heaven. We all have our own idea of what heaven means to us as individuals.
We may take the view that heaven is not a place at all but rather a state of blessedness where we will be forever with God and inseparable from God.
As we believe that God is ever- present then heaven is the background of our existence, the all-encompassing lordship of God within which we stand.