"Some of these mornings, bright and fair, I'm gonna lay down this heavy load," says the lyric in the famous old "spiritual" called "By and By." Who doesn't feel this way from time-to-time?
This poignant song, which is the major theme of a number of audio sermons, captures the almost universal longing for a blessed afterlife. "By and by I'm gonna lay down this heavy load." And it brings to mind that pious monk of the middle Ages who observed that many of his fellow-Christians were obsessed with worry about the afterlife.
Realizing how much of life's goodness they were missing along the way, he authored this beautiful line: "All the way to heaven is heaven."
However we define heaven, one definition stands supreme: to be in perfect union with God. If there is a fence around your heart shutting heaven out until you're dead, tear it down! Not only in the sweet "by-and-by" but all the way to heaven is heaven.
Wherever you are or whatever you're doing right now, God is with you in this present moment. He longs to give you fresh hope. Reach out for heaven now!
We give thanks, Lord, for the life you have given us:
for the light of the morning,
for the beauty of our world,
for the hope surging through our bodies,
for the divine impulses in our souls.
A wealthy woman in New York City died and left a Last Will and Testament in which she gave her entire estate to God. These created legal problems which the authorities said could only be resolved in the courts.
Consequently, a lawsuit was started in which "God" was named as a party. A summons was issued and the proper officials went through the motions of trying to serve it.
The final report sent to the court read as follows: "After a due and diligent search, made in accordance with established procedures, God cannot be found in New York City."
Well... In the matter of where God can be found, the search does not begin in New York City or any other city. The search begins in our hearts! Are you experiencing God's Presence within you? That is the question!
In his book, "The Nature of the Physical World," Doctor Arthur Eddington describes the "complicated business" of stepping into a room. He says that as you enter, you must shove against an atmospheric pressure of fourteen pounds on every square inch of your body.
Then, having crossed the threshold you must position your foot to land on a surface which is traveling around the sun at the rate of twenty miles per second. And you do all this while hanging from a spinning planet with your head pointed outward into space.
It's all very interesting, especially to the scientists, whose business it is to analyze a common ordinary thing like stepping into a room. But the great majority of us simply walk right in. And that's the way it is with belief in God. Long before we begin to analyze, long before we begin to speculate, long before we begin to look for reasons, we simply walk right in. That is to say, we simply believe.
We realize an awesome glimpse of God as we gather each week in communal worship. But Christianity is not a once-a-week proposition. It is in our daily, moment-to-moment gatherings with family and neighbors, friends ad co-workers -- for God is with us always. And today, even in our private, daily meditations we have countless sermon audio resources that we can turn to for inspiration. If we will only look, an awesome glimpse of God is everywhere.
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