Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you. In great mercy God has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials. —1 Peter 1.3-4, 6
What do you think “heaven” is like? A place of infinite joy and glory, a place where God is always and everywhere intimately present? A place where souls continually grow in love of God and one another? A world in which God's miracles are abundant, sin and death are defeated and forgiveness is the very air? Well, what the resurrection of Christ says is that this is it. We are in a changed world.
Expectant parents know what it's like. You live in a reality you haven't actually seen yet. But it's wholly real, and it changes everything. The resurrection of Christ is not just a promise that you get to go to “heaven” when you die. It's a moment of clarity that heaven is at the heart of this world. It unveils the reality that God, who brings creation out of chaos and life out of death with loving grace, is actually the dominant force in the universe. Despite the appearances of this world, the anxious workings of our ego-minds, and the powers of this world that magnify them, despite the ravages of evil, fear and suffering, it is God and not they who reign supreme.
Even in this troubled world, we live in heaven. We haven't learned to see it yet, but it is present, not just in the future, but here and now. The love of God throbs at the heart of all living things. The grace of God flows like electricity through all Creation. Forgiveness is like gravity, drawing us back into the present moment.
So we learn to live in this invisible world of grace that is hidden inside the visible world. We live with this inheritance, this belonging, that is already ours, cherished in the heart of Being itself. The troubles of this world don't discourage us from our hope, because our hope is not wishing for what hasn’t come, but confidence in what hasn't been revealed. The evils of this world do not intimidate us from seeking justice and resisting oppression, because we know that infinite power is on the side of liberation, reconciliation and healing. We learn to live as those who are newly born, with new eyes, with hope and wonder, love and courage. We love without fear, knowing that we've already died and gone to heaven.
Welcome! Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve
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