I do good to others to gain a seat in heaven!
Many people believe God’s presence must be won by good deeds. In fact, many faith communities still teach this. It is as if you have to buy and pay for God’s abiding presence with you. After all, God can be bribed, right? Or at least so the thinking goes. One can only wonder, then, if we have to earn God’s presence now so that we will be assured of God’s presence with us when we die.
Does this all mean that God is not present with us now while we are alive? Where is God while we are alive? Not here? Hiding? Asleep? Uncaring? Judging? Are we alone on our journey? That’s it isn’t it. Who cares what happens when we die? There is no God then or now. And if there is, I must earn God’s gracious favor. Utterly alone. Nothing but our own desires, plans, talents, drive. If we are lucky we have friends. But there is nothing else while we are alive. That’s it, isn’t it? Depressing.
If that is what you believe, let me offer you something else. God’s choice to live amongst us as totally one of us in the person of Jesus says something about this thing we call God. It says God chooses to be here. With you. With me. With us.
When Jesus was crucified by our inability to really see who he was, it looked like there was no hope for God’s presence ever again. Gone. For good. Bye bye. Nada! Nice while it lasted.
But God was not finished. God decided to keep coming into our world through your heart and mine if and when we open them up. We say the spirit of a person reveals that person’s presence with us. A spirited conversation is one where two people are present one with the other.
In the same way, God chooses to continue entering our lives through the Holy Spirit which entered the hearts of people who open them up to God’s abiding presence. It happened back then and it continues to happen now. God is present. Many hearts have been touched. “Aha. Now I see what I have sought all along. God is here. Heaven is right here, Right now.