Life in the presence of God is, rich and gracious. In thought of God sorrow and sighing flee away. Those who love God find it their supreme joy continually to offer him delighted thanks-giving. When we erase the traditional picture of heaven our speaking, these truths are often left unsaid. Until we are ready with new ways of saying them the perennial truth of heaven is overlooked. We may say that heaven is a state of mind and satisfy the modern intellect. But we need other words to fire the modern spirit.
Everyone has heard how it was said, “The Kingdom of heaven is within you.” Heaven is living near to God and he who loves does that. Men have spoken long and often of how much they must give up to be sure of reaching heaven when they died. Whoever gives himself or herself in love dwells here and now in the presence of God, which is heaven.
Energetic folk have thought a somewhat monotonous fate waits the saints who must engage in perpetual praise of God. Whoever lives consciously heaven of God’s presence cannot help but continually give him thanks for riches of human life. Diamonds glint in the granite sett, pearls hang in the dewy grass, sapphires shine I the eyes of his beloved. He who is in heaven often times despairs of being able sufficiently to give thanks.
Heaven is Love, Joy, Peace. It is praise and it is prayer and all besides. Some have thought of seven heavens, but 70 times even cannot number all the mansions of divine experience. Heaven is wherever men and women stand consciously in the presence of God. Shall Unitarians therefore be afraid to mention the word lest they be deemed old-fashioned and out of date? We cannot speak forth our religious convictions without words, and old words find a readier, response than what is new minted. The idea of heaven has always witnessed to a fact of experience. If we have misunderstood its metaphors we can receive them back for what they always were, the poetry of religious experience. When in some circles we see a return to older religious phraseology the time is ripe for us to speak of heaven as a rich experience. It is time for us to join the chorus of the saints who perpetually proclaim their joy in God.
– By Charles Easton
– The Inquirer