Friday, March 25, 2011

heaven on earth


For Jesus, the gifts and blessings of heaven - happiness, peace, contentment, ease, joy - are the natural fruits of being gratefully awake every day upon the earth. Everything promised about heaven is already here, in our midst - in the bread we bake, the seeds we plant, the small blessings we receive. Still, when the bone-weariness in us runs deep, when we are overwhelmed and discouraged by almost everything, feel pressured on all sides to take on more than we can bear, how can something small or quiet ever relieve such an enormous sense of powerlessness? We need stronger medicine, something enormously powerful, potent, and dramatic to lift us up and rescue us from our weary disappointments. We need to do great things, struggle and strain to achieve tremendous spiritual growth and accomplishment. Then perhaps we might gradually earn our way back into some vague sense of peace.
But Jesus said, "If you are faithful in the small things, you will be faithful in the large things". Every parent knows that our most potent interventions are in the small things - the wiped nose, the sweater hastily fastened before a child runs into the cold, the cup of hot chocolate upon her return. Heaven is born in this world, the small world of a good word, a kind touch, a loving glance, a moment of tender understanding. When we think of heaven, it need not be dramatic, grandiose, or even visible. Rather, look for what is small - the gentle rising and falling of the breath, a sip of wine and piece of bread, a prayer uttered quietly without hurry.
Spiritual practice teaches us not to look UP to find our true wealth, but rather to look here, now, to listen more carefully to the beauty, grace, and priceless value in the smallest of earthly blessings.

Wayne Muller, a life of being, having, and doing enough

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