Where is heaven?, you ask. Well, heaven may not be where you think.
Jesus, fully the person of God, stood many times in front of his Disciples and said, “Do you not see who is standing right in front of you?” The point being that this human being, just like them in every way, was also the God who created everything there is and until that moment chose to stay distant from the creation God created. It was God standing there in the person of Jesus. God-come-down.
When God chose to leave his happy house to come down and enter our environment as one of us, something tremendously new began. No longer isolated hidden away in wherever it is that God “hides,” that same God now had to buy bagels where everybody else bought bagels. So if by “heaven” we mean being in the presence of God, well guess where heaven than must be with Jesus amongst us.
For many “heaven” is a place where you have to present credentials in order to get through the gate. There are standards which if not met, deny you entrance to heaven. The problem is, and let us be absolutely clear here; those standards are out of our ability to reach them. For instance none of us live towards others with the Grace God lives towards us and calls us to go and do the same. So. There you have it. Truth be told if heaven is “up there” and we have to buy our way to heaven, we are all left outside the gate. Some people may call this hell, but I can’t go there and I’ll tell you why.
I cannot believe the God who revealed great Grace towards us by coming to live as one of us amongst us would say “Go to hell.” More than that, this is the God who raised Jesus from the dead that you and I put him to because he challenged the gods we make and bow down to, this is the God who said “Hello. You may ease me out of your life but I am not leaving.” That, my friends, is what the Resurrection is all about: the continuing presence of God in spite of our actions. This is a long winded answer to the question about hell. Given all this I do not see how the God we are called to open our hearts to would say “Get lost.” It is called forgiveness and I believe from the core of my soul that forgiveness is what God is about in the Resurrection of Jesus. And let us never forget that God’s presence continued through the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. Let me tell you. No matter where you may be in your lives, no matter how far you may have drifted away, heaven is still here waiting for you now.
So. Maybe the way we enter heaven, if you will, is lighten up our felt need to earn heaven. Maybe what we need to do is open our hungry hearts and knock at the door and enter the presence of the God within us that we deeply seek.
Where is heaven you ask? Right here, Right now. You don’t have to wait until you die. It is your’s to enter right now.