It is my belief that the distance between heaven and earth is quite short. I’ve come to this as I’ve read the story about Jesus and how he takes his disciples Peter, John and James with him up on a high mountain. His purpose – if we read the text from Luke (9:28) – his purpose is to simply pray. There is nothing big going on, it is no special day, they are just planning to pray. But what happens? While he is praying, he starts to change in front of them. It is obvious that God is there. Jesus’ face and clothes are changing. It is as if heaven is literally opening and everything that heaven is like – the purity, the beauty, the atmosphere – all of that takes over. It is as if heaven breaks through and all can see it.
And yes, that is how close heaven is. Sometimes I think we misunderstand this. We think that the distance between heaven and earth is so long. But it can not be. In Jesus heaven has come close to us. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews says: ”Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” We are surrounded, all the time, by those who have left this earth before us and we can also say that wherever Jesus is heaven is. This does of course not take away our grief and our pain when someone dies, but it can help is understand that nothing, nothing can separate us.
I love this text! It helps me prepare to that which is ahead of me. The fact is, we are all going to die, not just a few of us. And I think it is important to practise thinking about heaven. Heaven has to become so real for us that we can easily let go of all earthly things without any problem. I wish I could prepare so well that I could express myself like John puts it: “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven.” (4:1).
The door is open. I want to see that already now!