Saturday, June 11, 2016
He points out that what the early disciples did or did not believe about heaven did not reduce the reliability of their account of the ascension. And he's right. But what he doesn't really point out is that we are making some huge assumptions about something that is never really indicated.
It brings to mind what Chesterton said about cavemen. He said that we look at cave paintings and we imagine, from our perspective with temporal prejudice, that the men who painted them must have dragged their women into the caves by their hair and carried clubs for beating both meal and wife. But all of that is just speculation. All we KNOW about the cavemen is that they painted on the walls. Which actually, when you think about it, indicates sensitivity and culture rather than primitive misogyny.
The same concept holds true with the disciples. They never tell us what they believe about the temporality or physical location of heaven. All they tell us is what Jesus said, and what He did. They leave it up to us to decide what it means, and if we believe it or not.
This focus on what IS, rather than what we assume it is, or what we feel it SHOULD be, or what we expected it to be, is very freeing. It allows us to live in the moment. To accept the gift of the present moment, just as it is given to us. And the present moment is almost always something we can live with... even enjoy. There are very few times in our lives that are so terrible that we can't bear them. And part of that reason is because He gives us grace for the moment. But He doesn't usually give us grace for tomorrow, or grace for yesterday. He calls us to live in the right now, here with Him, where He gives us everything we need.
God, help us to recall our minds to the here, the now, and the what is.