Friday, December 16, 2011
These mountains in southern Bavaria are heavenly.
I want to do some more thinking about a heavenly dimension. This is the sort of reflecting I used to do in my personal journal. I hope it is alright to do it here.
The night before last I had a dream in which I was in a parish hall arranging with the pastor to use the hall for some kind of ceremony. He told me I had to be finished exactly on time because someone else was having a meeting in the hall right after our ceremony. The other person spoke up and said, "That will be alright. Our group is meeting in a different dimension. We can be in the same place at the same time without seeing or hearing each other."
I am finding this kind of thinking a very helpful analogy for heaven.
For many years I have found thinking of heaven as "up" made God and the dead seem distant. It is certainly true, as a hymn I remember from childhood put it, "Out beyond the stretching of the farthest star, Thou art every reaching infinitely far." But the same hymn also sang of the closeness of God.
I remind myself that, like every religious reality, heaven is a mystery that we cannot completely conprehend. Comparison is the best we can do. The dream helps. Heaven is like another dimension that is in the same place as our earthly dimension, but we cannot see or hear what goes on there. At least, not usually. I wonder if something like centering prayer isn't a way of moving briefly into the heavenly dimension. That dimension exists in an eternal "now." When the prayer goes well, it feels like its twenty minutes is only a few.
So when I think about God becoming one of us, rather than think about God coming "down" into our world, I think of God moving through the "membrane" that separates the two dimensions and moving in to stay as Jesus Christ.