So often the scriptures that have shaped our understanding of what happens when we die, heaven, hell, and eternal life have been interpreted by us very literally. Therefore when we try to approach these concepts with our human understanding, we often miss the bigger meaning behind the words of the forefathers and mothers of our faith.
Over the next several weeks we will be exploring various passages and understandings regarding what happens beyond death. I invite you to come into these conversations with an open mind. Please know that I claim to have no “definitive” understanding other than God is Love. God gave us the gift of ultimate, sacrificial love through the person Jesus Christ and we are called to emulate that life with our whole being. And finally, in the end, even when our human understanding fails, Love Wins.
It seems that humans are curious as to what the experience or place of heaven will be like.
Jesus was very intentional about telling the disciples and his followers that once he was no longer with them in physical presence, he would still be with them in a spiritual one.
They were shocked and so very disappointed.
“You’re leaving us? WHERE are you going!?!?!?!”
Jesus explained he was going to be with his father (God). And that they, too, would be there as well.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14
What if “being with Jesus/God” is something that we understand not as a physical presence but instead as a state of being . . . a state of consciousness. Consciousness is an inner and external awareness of existence. We also know this as our “soul” . . . .the part of ourselves that is so aware of all things, but yet also so deep and mysterious, we cannot quite figure it all out.
I believe if we were to put it in our words/terms in the year 2021, Jesus was telling them, “Hey! No, I’m not going to get you a room at Heaven DoubleTree. Instead, please hear me! Where I am going, you will also go. This passage from this experience to an eternal/infinite one that is bathed in nothing but Divine Love – that is yours as well. And it is vast – so vast that all are welcome! I’ve prepared the way for you . . . . I’ve shown you the way, actually! And ultimately, one day, we will both reside in that place and that state together, eternally.”
What a beautiful picture of what our lives/heaven can and will be.