One: Ingredients for Heaven

ingredients for heaven on earth,

In our little piece of heaven, my husband and I often share an aperitif under the leafed canopy in our backyard before supper. On such an occasion I leaned back in my lawn chair and looked up beyond the lime-green interruptions at a perfectly blue sky. A sudden inundation of gratitude glowed within my being. I am blessed. As I thought about how heaven had come about, a few important ingredients came to mind.

Important ingredients

Without these ingredients the many blessings so easily slip away. I remember a time when depression dogged my daily life. Fear had me in its deadly grip and heaven was far away. Even today, should I forget to name the good in each moment, I may awake to the old familiar fatigue draining all vitality from every step I take. Hence, being present is important.

Blessing instead of curse

Blessing instead of cursing is another of the ingredients. Rather than joining the throng criticizing government, church and spouse, I choose silence for the most part. Each negative thought and word dismantles the good around and within us, blinds us to the beautiful. Truth is, our world is far from perfect. Instead of criticism, however, a few steps in the direction of kindness and patience make a solid foundation for heaven on Earth. “Thank you” uplifts weary souls. A smile can do wonders for an overburdened spirit.

Gratitude is one of the ingredients

Another ingredient is gratitude. While everyone can decide to be grateful, the choice is far from unanimous. Maybe if we were more grateful, heaven would be closer.

Detachment

Among the ingredients is the knowing that nothing belongs to me. All my comforts, my home, my family, everything belongs to the one who gave it to me. I do not own my spouse or any of the members of my family. My home is a borrowed dwelling where I am responsible for upkeep and beautification. Moving forty times in my life has taught me detachment. Although I must admit if a tornado blew through I would be upset for a while.

Sharing is among the ingredients

Sharing shows up among the ingredients. Although Covid-19 has put a damper on sharing, it is still possible. We look forward to new ways to share the wealth of our blessings. Every time we come together we ripple the goodness creating a larger space in which heaven may grow here and now. Walking in solidarity with those less fortunate moves us toward a better world. We can sign petitions, donate to charities, move beyond our comfort zones to include those outside our circles.

Peace is a blend of ingredients

A certain peace permeates our little piece of heaven because it does not depend on external measurements. Our home is not large, our family is imperfect, our community insular. Imperfections give us something on which to work and keep us humble. Remembering we are not alone and the whole is not our responsibility, gives us room to be the best we can be. I do not need to do it all and it is not about me.

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One: Heaven

one, blog, heaven, peace, spirituality

“Christianity is meant to be a loving way of life now, not just a system of beliefs and requirements that people hope will earn them a later reward in heaven.” Richard Rohr—Daily Meditations-Summary January 6, 2017

Heaven on Earth

Our mission is to build Heaven on Earth. Instead distain has replaced respect in many people’s minds when it comes to the topic of the Christian Church. Some people will not even entertain the subject. They walk away shaking their heads. Or worse, they allow their anger against the Church to take over their thinking and their words.

The non-violent way

All this distress is quite understandable. Christian churches have strayed far from the loving way of life Jesus proposed. The Beatitudes in chapter 5 of Matthew in the Bible lay out a non-violent, patient and caring life-style few undertake. Some exceptions do exist. The best example in the last one hundred years was a Hindu: Mahatma Ghandi.

Offer no resistance

Ghandi put Jesus’ teachings into practice. Unfortunately, he paid the same price Jesus did. We are still unwilling to offer no resistance to the evil doers around us. “But I say this to you: offer no resistance to the wicked.” Matt 5:39 Tit for tat is still the name of the game. Being ‘right’ consumes us.

No reward system

There is no way we can earn our place in heaven by joining the ‘right’ church or doing the ‘right’ things. All of us make mistakes. Some mistakes have a higher price than others. And we have been forgiven. Done deal. All that remains is choosing a peaceful path by creating a peaceful heart within ourselves.

Peaceful hearts

Peaceful hearts create heaven. They are also rare. Instead of concentrating on personal sin, how to repent and how to earn a better standing in the eyes of a judgemental and exacting God, churches could teach practices leading to peace, like centring prayer, meditation or contemplation exercises. They could teach us how to love ourselves again, as God loves us. We need to hear about a loving God, one without the little black book.

Acts of loving kindness

Acts of loving kindness birth Heaven. It works well with a reciprocal flow of love and kindness. Like in the Trinity. The Trinity is the finest example of self-giving and self-receiving. This circle dance of love overflows into more beauty and peace. We see examples in the newborn babies of loving parents and in the joy of elderly couples who have made a life-practice of this way.

Solidarity

Heaven on Earth is possible. Respect must replace distain, guns transformed into plowshares. Refusing to participate in acts or words of violence, we stand in solidarity with the poor and the marginalised while denouncing the systems destroying our peace and our planet.

Engagement

Non-violent engagement in social justice is not for the faint of heart. One could get killed. On the other hand, heaven moves a little closer. Peace is more possible. Life is good.

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