Heaven

“Jesus said to his Disciples, ‘Don’t be worried. Have faith in God and have faith in me. There are many rooms in my father’s house. I wouldn’t tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for you. After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together. You know the way to where I am going.” John 14: 1-4

We know the way – Jesus is the way – Jesus is the way to heaven – Jesus is the way to the Father. We know, but we’re not yet in heaven. Jesus will have to come back and take us with him. Our knowledge prepares us for heaven – makes us study and learn and live the ways of heaven here on earth until Jesus comes back and takes us. Regularly, we remember in church that Jesus is coming again – in the Holy Communion of Saints.

Thomas asked, “Lord, we don’t even know where you are going, how can we know the way?” The answer is that if we know the way, then we know where we are going. If we believe that Jesus is the way, and follow the way, then we know we’re going to heaven – to occupy the rooms being prepared for us. Knowing illuminates our destination. Knowing shows us a path – points us the direction. So we walk the way – Jesus – to heaven, and we are held on our way while we keep ‘joined’ with Jesus.

Why do we stray then if we already know the way? Christians call this backsliding – literally going back, but not unintentionally; sliding back to a previous way – that is. This happens because we take heaven for granted.  At least at the moment, we think that heaven is still an abstract concept (up there), and we like to refer to it as “sa kabilang buhay,” without actually believing in a life beyond. This is simply an expression for many.  Most of us can’t grasp the truth that all of us have eternal destiny – heaven or hell – or we don’t value eternity. At least at the moment, life is all there is to us, life that we can touch and see and feel and hear and smell. Heaven is a reality beyond, difficult to grasp, like air itself. We don’t crave for heaven, or we think we don’t. Our flesh craves for the enjoyment this world offers. But the things we most wish for are stuff that only heaven can give – deep joy, lasting peace, true love, and concrete happiness. Yet we insist on living at the moment, mistaking the world’s panaceas as heaven itself. We think we have joy but it doesn’t last. Peace is not at all attainable. True love is mostly the stuff of fiction. Happiness runs out of motivation.

When Jesus comes back and takes us, would he find us where we should be? Would we have moved on closer towards our destination? Or would he arrive and for a moment strain his neck looking for us, since we got lost somehow and would not be found? How far would we have strayed that there wouldn’t be enough time to go back?

Jesus is the way – the ONLY WAY wants us to keep walking THIS WAY – because he will come back and take us. When he comes, we should be where we should be, or we will miss heaven. The alternative destination should never be an option.

Portrait of the Damned

God’s spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled.” Galatians 5:22-23

Portrait of the Damned

The face is glum as always

Drawn lonely drooping lines

On sides of lips convey besottedness

To things unhappy such as pain.

Each day a blot of black on blue

And bluer still it goes,

“Hello to hatred unresolved.”

The perfect host

Hugging fears the moment they approach.

Why! complaining is a truer friend,

Praise, the unwelcome stranger.

Sleek patronage in honesty’s proud name

Dances with all liars

And woe to happy, loving, good…

They can’t be real.

(JCB, October 1, 2009)