Saturday, December 09, 2006


Advent is a grand and glious season. Here's a few ways to enjoy thinking of the nearness of heaven; a frequent theme of the season from John the Baptist and Jesus.

Advent examples


Robert Lewis Stevenson, grew up in Scotland around the turn of the century and his family’s house was on a hillside outside of town. Each evening, he would sit in the kitchen and look down on the town, watching the lamp lighter ignite each of the town’s street lamps. He remembered one evening saying to his mother, "Look, there is a man down there who is punching holes in the darkness."

And so this Advent we proclaim the nearness of the Kingdom of God. The Book of Common Prayer calls on God to "give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and to put on the armor of light”. Thus may we too have grace to “punch holes in the darkness”.


A woman in my congregation recently returned from a retreat at Gethsemane, the monastery in Kentucky where Thomas Merton journeyed so diligently in his pilgrimage toward God. When she returned I asked her how her time there was. She beamed and said it was “Heavenly”.

So it is with those of the spirit. We journey on with all the saints here on earth and those who have gone before. Hardly do we realize with such busy and anxious lives how close heaven lies. The kingdom of heaven is indeed “at hand”. Only when we stop and listen to the heart of God beating in ours do we realize that Heaven is close. Indeed it is “at hand” as both the Baptist and as Jesus said.


Tolstoy, in latching on to Luke 17:21 proclaims that the Kindom is Heaven is “within” us. That is why it is so very close at hand and why it is so near. He goes on to say that the connection between God and humanity is within the grasp of love.

“God is the infinite ALL. Man is only a finite manifestation of Him.
Or better yet:
God is that infinite All of which man knows himself to be a finite part.
God alone exists truly. Man manifests Him in time, space and matter. The more God's manifestation in man (life) unites with the manifestations (lives) of other beings, the more man exists. This union with the lives of other beings is accomplished through love.
God is not love, but the more there is of love, the more man manifests God, and the more he truly exists”

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