As often happens, my blog this week is inspired by a song (Heaven Is A Place On Earth, written by Rick Nowels and Ellen Shipley, and recorded by Belinda Carlisle).
When I woke up with the song playing in my head, I thought this could be the subject of this week’s blog. When I heard it a little while later on the radio, I knew it was confirmation. I knew that I had to write a blog about how we can make Heaven a place on Earth.
Religions have taught us that Heaven is somewhere else: a place where God lives, a place that we might be able to go to after we die, if we belong to the right religion, and if we have been good enough.
Many of us have feared that it was such an unattainable place, that we may as well not even try to be good in this life, because we are sure to end up in hell anyway. Others of us are so intent on avoiding the fiery furnace of hell when we die, that we forget to enjoy this beautiful life. Some of us are living such a hell on Earth, we desperately hope that Heaven is attainable when this life ends, and we hope the end is soon.
But what if we misunderstood what religions were trying to teach us? What if Heaven is attainable for all, and Heaven is right with us every day?
The first thing to understand is that Heaven is where God lives, but God lives in all of her creation; God lives in each of us. We don’t have to wait until we die to find God, and we don’t have to wait until we die to find Heaven.
The Bible offers some clues:
The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) includes:
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Many have looked at these ideas as two separate events: God’s kingdom coming, and God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven. But what if the two events were linked? What if God’s kingdom (Heaven) comes to Earth, when his will is done on earth as it is in heaven?
But what is God’s will?
The lyrics of the song tell us the answer:
“They say in heaven love comes first.
We’ll make heaven a place on earth”
When we focus on love, God’s kingdom of Heaven comes to Earth.
But how do we focus on love?
It may not mean doing different things, but perhaps doing what we normally do in a different way.
Take our employment, for instance. Are we going off to work every day, with our focus only on the wages we receive for that work? Or, are we focusing on love for ourselves, by going to a job we enjoy, and focusing on love for others, as we provide a loving service to our customers or our colleagues?
Luke 12:28-34 tells us: “But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom””
If we seek God’s kingdom, by focusing on love in all that we do, we will naturally be provided with all of those things we think we need, just as the birds and the lilies are provided for.
We learned from Neale Donald Walsch’s book, Friendship With God: “Release the joy that is inside of another, and you release the joy that is inside of you”. That joy is love expressed.
If you remember seeing pictures of Mother Teresa working with the poor, it was obvious that her work brought her great joy, as it did to those she helped. Her focus on loving service was bringing Heaven to Earth.
I know it was no coincidence, that, after hearing the song on the radio, I heard an announcement that that day, 5th December, was International Volunteer Day:
We don’t have to go off to Calcutta to bring out the joy in another to help to bring Heaven to Earth. There are many people and animals in our own communities who could benefit from our loving volunteer service.
In Friendship With God, God advised that there are a thousand times a thousand ways to bring out the joy in another, and thus bring out the joy in ourselves. “And in the moment you decide to do so, you will know how.” He gave some examples:
A smile, a compliment, a loving glance, making love, a song, a dance, the stroke of a brush, the molding of clay, the rhyming of words, holding of hands, the meeting of minds, the partnering of souls, the mutual creation of anything good and lovely and useful, sharing a feeling, telling a truth, ending of anger, healing of judgement, willingness to listen, willingness to speak, the decision to forgive, the choice to release, the commitment to give, the grace to receive.
“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” “(Luke 17:20-21)
The Qur’an tells us that Allah is closer to man than his jugular vein, and that Allah stands between man and his heart. (Surat Qaf (50), Verse 16, and Surat Al-‘Anfāl (8), Verse 24)
Here are more clues of where to find Heaven – the kingdom of God is within. Don’t look for it outside yourself, but find it first within yourself. The way to do that is through meditation. Every time we meditate, we find Heaven on Earth; we find our love within. And once we have found our love within, we are then able to share it.
One of the ways we can share our love, and bring Heaven to Earth, is through the means alluded to in the song – through sex. Some of us have been lucky enough to feel like we have experienced Heaven on Earth, during sex.
As the song says: “In this world we’re just beginning To understand the miracle of living.” I believe when we do understand the miracle of living, we will understand that sex is, not only a way to love ourselves and our partner, but also a way to connect with God within ourselves and our partner, and to thus bring Heaven to Earth.
In truth, Heaven is a place on Earth; it is every place on Earth. For Heaven is where God is, and God is everywhere. We just have to focus on love to find it.
If you wish to make Heaven a place on Earth, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)