Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Are there really gates in heaven?
I have been thinking a great deal about how we separate ourselves from one another -by gender, race, ethnicity and religious affiliation. I have often marveled at how people seem to need so many gates in their lives and even in the afterlife. Does God really separate us? Or are the gates and fences images that we need to feel secure in the present and future? The Creator designed this world with few gates, and although the mountains, rivers and oceans might be considered barriers, most humans have found them to be challenges to overcome, and part of the journey of seeking and finding others. Explorers and dreamers have never imagined our world as gated or fenced, but rather as an exhilarating creative opportunity.
Recently, I was ticketed for overnight parking in neighboring town, as a relative was caring for my car while we were away. They have unposted rules to keep the streets clear of unwanted persons. Like me, I guess. Hidden fences, my sister calls them. We live in a time where we celebrate fences, alarm systems and homeland security. We rejoice in border fences and heightened security, thinking we are safe. We think if we can wear enough armor, keep danger at a distance, then we will be free. I think we are trapped by our gates and fences, even when they are open. Because, to believe that we are gatekeepers assumes that we can control and manage the messy world around us. I don't think we can. This world was created to be explored and we were created to cross barriers, seasons, oceans and mountains to seek out the face of God in others.
Can you join me today in imagining heaven without gates (and afterlife mints)? Can you engage, just for today, with life as an exhilarating creative opportunity? May you find the Creator's breath in your own today, rising with the hope of new possibilities and finding God in the other creation, the other person, just beyond the walls you have made.