Friday, April 21, 2023

Living in a Primary World

Vacationing gives one a different perspective on life. That is why we do it. We “vacate” our normal world and enter another. Visiting Florida is different from living in New Hampshire. For example there are the governors - DeSantis and Sununu. Both are Republican governors, but they could not be more different. But I won’t get into that. This post is not about politics. Nor is it about the upcoming Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire, which I am already getting robocalls about. It is about the primary world that lays behind this secondary one.

I have recently read three novels that picture another world behind the ordinary one. The most recent is Fairy Tale by Stephen King. The teenage protagonist discovers another world hidden behind the door of a shed in his neighbor’s backyard. Presently I am reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. It pictures another world beneath London, accessed through doors by a girl named Door. The Night Shift by Natalka Burian has a similar theme. It takes place in New York City, where there are doors that are shortcuts to other parts of the city. These shortcuts change your world.

In all these books the alternate universe is entered the same way that the Pevensie children entered Narnia in C. S. Lewis’ books. Through a door. To enter the realm of Aslan one walked through the door of the wardrobe in the spare room. These books awaken the ancient memory that there is more to life than what most people realize.

Jesus spoke of such an alternative realm. He called it the Kingdom of God. He called himself the Door. He spoke of seeing this Kingdom and entering it. I see it all the time no matter where I am. It is always here now. I remember glimpses of it from childhood when the world was magical and summer was endless. I see it here in the natural beauty of the Florida coast in springtime. God’s presence is seen in the sparkling of the ocean, the swaying of the palm trees, and the gentle presence of wildlife.

There is the physical world, and there is the spiritual world. Most people consider the physical world as real and the spiritual world as less substantial. I see it as just the opposite. The physical world is transient. It is without form and substance. Everything changes constantly. 

The deeper one looks scientifically at the subatomic level the more we discover there are no “things” at all. There is only change. Mountains rise and fall. Climates change. Bodies are born, age and die. Species come and go, including our short-lived human species. Planets are born and die. But the Kingdom of God is eternal.

The Eternal is the primary world. The physical world is secondary. Much like Plato’s allegory of the cave, this physical world is a world of shadows. The eternal world is one of sight and light. Yet the Eternal is glimpsed through the temporary. Every part of this world is translucent to the Spiritual. All creation shines with the glory of Heaven. Every living thing reflects Divine Life. “Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God.”

The Kingdom of God is my home. This physical world – and this temporary physical body - are just fleeting manifestations of my Eternal home. Some people yearn for heaven. I don’t. Why would I yearn for what I already have – or more accurately – what already has me? Heaven is all around me, shining through every inch of this world! The Kingdom of God is within me, just as Jesus said.  All one has to do is notice.

There is an old gospel song that says, “This world is not my home I'm just a-passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.” That may be true for those who picture heaven as beyond the sky and who cannot see the shores of heaven from where they stand on earth. But for me heaven kisses earth. The Kingdom of Heaven is within arm’s reach. The Kingdom of God is “at hand,” just as Jesus said. I stand on the shores of the crystal sea now, and heaven’s treasures are all around me, as they always are.

1 comment:

Jackie Dickey said...

Thank you for this. I am saving this one.
I loved you door references. We were in Italy in Sept and the doors were fascinating and exciting. Hubby and I have lots of pics.
I also love your message about seeing eternity in the now and am reminded of other writers (Richard Rohr, Tony Campolo and Wm Paul Young to name a few) who introduced me to that way of contemplation.
Your Baptist background is similar to my C of C upbringing though I am UMC now and so happy to be released into a more open way of study.
Heaven is now and truly all around us as the poet said. Just know I see it too and am no longer in the blackberry eating crowd.

Jackie Dickey
San Antonio Tx