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Been down so long it seems like up to me

Sunday, May 13, 2007

John 14:23
Jesus spoke, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."

Revelation 21:22-23
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

One of my favorite exercise songs comes from Rob Evans the Donut Man: "Jumping up and down, jumping up and down, jumping up and down, shout hosanna!"

In 1st Thessalonians Paul writes about the Lord coming down, the dead rising, and then we who are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

God comes to me to make his home with me. Jesus doesn't call it heaven, and he doesn't talk about the clouds. John's vision extends to the future, but it isn't up there or down here.

I am so used to thinking in "horizontal" ways, about life centered on myself and expanding into the lives of other people. But these verses push my mind into more vertical thinking, help me see God at the center and God as the source. They open my eyes to God's vision of what heaven is like.

Once again, my categories are insufficient. My vision is too dim, my imagination too shallow, my God too small. God is light. He doesn't reflect light, and he is not one of many sources of light. He is light. In his presence I too can just be. No more doing to make myself worthy. And no more making God in my image. Just ... no more of that.

The part of me I don't admire appreciates a dark corner here and there, where I can hide awhile. Maybe leave behind a piece of me I'm not proud of, hope to never see it again. No more of that either. God makes his home in me. I won't be getting away from him or any part of myself.

Jesus says, "Choose to obey. That's how I know you love me." And it's also how he knows I can survive not only his visit, but his moving in. Habitual obedience no longer requires positive results in my life with others; instead it's a result itself of my devotion to God.

In the exhilarating days after they were filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter and John healed a cripple. Off he went, "walking and jumping and praising God" (Acts 3:8). Psalm 119, a long tribute to obedience, includes this reframing of freedom: "I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free (v32)". Jumping up and down ... shout hosanna!

This joy, complete in itself, needs no more fuel.

All my imaginings don't measure up to this vision, Lord. Thank you for a glimpse of the world as you, the Maker, know it.

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