Here and Now
Matthew West has a song out that I like called Next Thing You Know. It’s on the CD History. In order to “get” the last line of the verse that I’m going to quote here, you may need to have heard the first verse, which is a description of the first time the writer was aware of the touch of God, at the age of 13 (the hour he “first believed”). The verse I want to focus on today, though, is the third one:
Of how heaven might look someday.
I see the people there, so I pull up a chair.
And their stories, they blow me away.
‘Cause I can see it on every face,
The evidence of grace.
And as I listen it occurs to me
Everybody’s got their own thirteen.
Can you picture it? A room in heaven, high ceilings, walls so far in the distance that you can’t even see them. It’s full of chairs – chairs that are easily picked up and carried around, so that you can join into any conversation. You pick up your chair, you slide it into a circle (where there is always room), and you listen. Everybody’s got a story to tell, and the grace in the room floods your being. You are blown away by the glory of it. It’s heaven.
Can you picture it?
I don’t have to close my eyes to see it. All I have to do is to open them. It’s here; it’s now. We don’t live in heaven, but we do live in the Kingdom of God. We aren’t sitting in a waiting room, hoping for death so that we can finally gain admission to the place where God waits. God’s not waiting – He’s here, He’s now, and grace abounds.
You’ve seen it – you know it. Haven’t you scene the evidence of grace on the face of the person sitting next to you? Haven’t you felt the flood? Aren’t there times when you just want to pull up a chair, draw yourself into the circle, and listen to the stories? Haven’t you been blown away? Everybody’s got a story to tell, and the grace on their faces, in their voices, in their actions is extraordinary. Ha! It’s AMAZING.
If you are waiting for Jesus to return, thinking he’s sitting in heaven somewhere, waiting for his moment, then you’ve missed him. If your picture of God is of a wizard, sitting behind a curtain, pushing buttons, and listening to our prayers over a walkie-talkie, then look around, because He’s here. The curtain was torn apart over 2000 years ago.
God has been chasing you since the day that you were born, and at some point -- at your 13 -- you turn around and get caught.
It isn’t perfect, this kingdom of God we’re living in. It has yet to be made whole. It is the dwelling place of God, and it is found exactly where we are standing. It’s not heaven, but it’s as close as we get for now, and it has everything we need. And one of the best parts is that we are all here – you, me and God. We are sitting in our chairs, telling our stories, and being blessed by the grace reflected from one to another.
You gotta find your place in the history of grace.
Images: Both pictures were taken on my way to a meeting at church last night -- the light was great. The first is the sky over Route 10, and the second is our bell tower.