Finding the door to heaven

FRENCH scientist and mystic Theilhard de Chardin said our lives would change if we realised we were not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.

And if we’d only just stop for a minute, we could hear the God of the universe whisper: “I love you.”
That has an otherworldly ring about it.

We are living on the edge of eternity, but it’s sometimes hard to get glimpses of heaven in this world. It’s easier to glimpse hell on a planet seemingly fuelled by anger, greed, lust and ignorance.

French poet and playwright Jean Cocteau was once asked what he thought about heaven and hell.

“Excuse me for not answering,” he said. “I have friends in both places.”

Who can’t relate to that?

Earth is an in-between world, touched by both of the other venues.

Our profound human predicament is that we only occasionally dream beyond our earthly existence.

When good things happen, we may think we are in heaven; when bad things happen, we are in hell.

The fragmentary nature of our experience shatters us. One minute the world is full of lightness, then suddenly full of darkness.

No wonder we want to cry.

God says that when we get to heaven, he will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.

But that’s in heaven.

The poet Robert Browning said that earth was crammed with heaven; and it is.

The writer Mary Antin had a theory that we are not born all at once, but by bits. First comes the body, then the spirit, slowly and often painfully. Our recognition of heaven on earth is not automatic.

There is a story told about ancient monks who searched earth looking for the door to heaven. Finally, they found it, the place where heaven meets earth. When they opened the door, they were back at their monastery, where they lived their daily lives.

As the poet Goethe said: We are our own devils; we drive ourselves out of our Edens.


38 thoughts on “Finding the door to heaven

  1. If you say so…..”God says that when we get to heaven, he will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.
    But that’s in heaven. ”

    But it’s just like that in the grave, too. 😉


  2. Anway, there are more important issues than the Hereafter.

    How about getting god to do something about the 30%+ jump in the price of fuel!?…which will heavily impact the price of every thing else.
    Or the coercive imposition (apparently soon to be enforced by the police) of the AMI (so-called ‘Smart Meters’) which will push up the power-bill by about the same percentage ~ not to mention similar Big-Brother units soon to go on water and gas meters?

    … mention but a few.

    That’s what you get when you vote and pay taxes!
    How does god view violent revolution?


      • I’m not bloody-well going!
        …and I’m certainly not going to allow myself to be judged by some no-hoper who gives life to turds who skin dogs ~ or allow some other mongrel to do so.
        Some of us possess things like human dignity and self-respect.


      • Dabs,

        Quit blaming God!

        We are responsible for what happens in this life. We are the caretakers of Mother Earth and we are responsible for what the ‘turds’ (and their facilitators) do to God’s creation.

        I love God all the more because He gave us/me free will…..and with that came the awareness that I have to do my part; that I really do have a responsibility to honour God by the way I take ownership of the part I play in all of this.

        I can’t personally go and bring all the evil doers to justice, even though sometimes I feel as though I’d like to—that’s God’s role in the end. But I can sure do my little bit to help fight against it. So, stop blaming God!


      • ??? “Quit blaming God!”
        But Mon!…He told me once that even before “In the Beginning” that’s the very thing he created me for: it’s my role in the Intelligent Design,
        ….me and Old Nick.

        Y’wouldn’t want me to exercise my Free Will in order to thwart the Will of God, would you?. 😯


    • Hell and heaven is not hereafter but right here and now. We are as it rightly say spirits having human experience. The heaven opens when we fully realise this. Not after we leave this plane, but while we on it.
      As far as the rising prices and increasing curbing of liberties, who we blame for that? Aren’t we in our laziness guilty of surrendering our power to so called “authorities?” And price of food, petrol and other essentials, we shop at the big ones because they “convenient” ignoring the small operators and so removing the competition from the large operators. Once they have no competition, they dictate their pricing. Is this so hard to understand? We have incompetent and egoistic leaders in our governments, incompetent people in government departments, the list goes on. Why? Hello, we voted them in! We now have imprint that the only democracy is two party choice. I see no difference between them, both shafting their constituents as hard as they can.
      Sorry dabbles, not on the same note with you. Blame sticks to us, every one of us.


      • I sometimes wonder about electing politicians.If we had public service heads forming a decision-making group for our country, at least they have earned their positions, are well informed, represent a wide area of fields, are not bound by a party platform


      • Actually, fossall, from just about every comment you’ve made I think you’re , uncannily, on EXACTLY the same ‘note’ as me.
        ….and despite the motto ‘Never admit nuthin’ ‘, it’s inspiring to see a man who is REALLY aware of his faults (as distinct from the faults attributed to him by others),

        You err only in your conclusion:- “Blame sticks to us, every one of us.”
        I don’t vote -ever; and whoever said that one can’t avoid death and taxes was only half-right.

        ….Come to think of it: if I became a christian ~ and the propaganda is anything like accurate ~ I could probably avoid death too. 😉


      • Wouldn’t Sir Humphrey love YOU?! 😆

        If one MUST have a slave-master, Strewth, I reckon history clearly shows that the best way to go is with what used to be called a ‘Benign Dictatorship’.

        Not always all that friendly, but strong, efficient and usually uncommonly successful.
        ….and often very popular among the general population.


      • There is one more thing, public servant, which includes our PM, means just that. Serving to the public. No, not the other way around, us serving the servants.


      • ….Come to think of it: if I became a Christian ~ and the propaganda is anything like accurate ~ I could probably avoid death too. 😉
        If you become a Christian for sure dabbles. You would realise you immortal from the beginning. As we all are except we don’t yet know it. Speaking of Christian, the word means Christ like. How many are there to claim that? Good question I think.


      • ….but that’d be a let-down fossall:-
        “You would realise you immortal from the beginning. ”

        I believe I’ll stick with the hand I’m holding (that I’ve already been around longer than that, since there’s no beginning and no end),
        ,,,,,,,,and try to bluff my way through. 😉


    • davinci,
      Gee, I guess I can say – just wait till the hereafter, and get the shock of your life to find that it isnt the way you envisage it!


    • Funny you should say that.
      It’s come to mind more than once recently that, despite the hullaballoo, I’ll be interested in seeing how Mandela’s funeral compares to the send-offs of some of the other ‘Movers and Shakers’. (Almost all communists ~ or fellow-travellers like Mandela.)

      Did you know that the most well-attended (by VIPs, national heads and the general riff-raff) funeral in recorded history was that of:-

      …a man who towered over the knee-deep-in-blood Balkan feuds, stood up to the Superpowers of his time ~ the US, USSR and Nazi Germany and bested them all (even made Stalin pull his head in!):-
      quote:- To Joseph Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send a very fast working one to Moscow and I certainly won’t have to send another.” unquote

      ….AND improved the lot of ‘Yugoslavs’ hugely.
      ( As was expected, the nationalistic feuds resurfaced when he died, but still the people of ‘former Yugoslavia are much better off than they were or would be; unlike the people in South Africa.)

      Here are some quotes that will give you an idea of the man:-


    • Can you imagine if Peter Beattie (self confessed “media tart”) had been invited? Or Kevin Rudd?
      And what may I ask is one supposed to celebrate at a funeral? Especially if it is a time of mourning?! Can you have mourning and celebration at the same time? Wouldn’t celebration be offensive to the mourners? Wouldn’t mourning be offensive to the celebrants?


      • You mourn their death but you celebrate what they meant to you in life and even just the fact that they lived, breathed and were a part of this world. Different people from different cultures have various reactions to death.

        I understand where you’re coming from davinci because at a funeral I tend to be so sad at the loss that I can’t quite manage the party bit, even if I may be at peace with them moving on to God.

        I just don’t think selfies (which are about themselves and not the person who died) is really poor taste and kind of insensitive.


  3. ps. Have a look at this and see how many faces you recognise in just three minutes:-

    …..even Thatcher and Arafat were there, looking mournful!


    • Did Arafat and Thatcher take this opportunity to snap a selfie?

      I wonder what makes Presidents/PM’s go to one leader’s funeral and not another’s. Don’t know too much about Tito and don’t know whether Thatcher agreed with him, but she respectfully attended his funeral.

      Obama had the flag at half mast for Mandela, sent a representative for Hugo Chavez but didn’t do diddly for Thatcher’s funeral, not even someone in his place. Not only that, he sent the gift of the bust of Winston Churchill back to the English. Don’t he likes them much.


      • Tito practiced the most benign form of communism in the Eastern Block. However it didn’t stop the former Yugoslavian republic fragmenting into pieces after his death. Even here in Australia what used to be called Yugoslav churches now have degenerated into Serbian, Macedonian, Croatian churches, etc. One is made to feel very unwelcome if s/he attends the wrong type.



    Despite the hardships Nick Vujicic faces as a sufferer of Tetra-Amelia, nothing can mask the inspirational speaker’s beaming smile as he looks upon his stunning wife and newborn son. Born with no arms or legs, Nick does not let his congenital disorder stop him from doing anything, even surprising himself sometimes.

    “I definitely had doubts that I’d ever get married, that I would ever meet anybody who would love to spend the rest of their life with me. Because I am prince charming with a couple of pieces missing,” Nick laughed, speaking on 60 Minutes. Yet in the February of 2012 he married the woman of his dreams, Kanae Miyahara, and earlier this year the couple celebrated the birth of their son, Kiyoshi James. Nick reveals in his latest book, Unstoppable, that when he met Kanae he was immediately taken by her “enchanting” beauty, kind heart and devotion to serving God. When they were dating, Nick and Kanae remember seeing many interesting reactions from strangers. One bystander said through tears, “Now I believe in true love again.”

    Over the last decade, the author, motivational speaker, and director of the non-profit organisation, Life Without Limbs, has shared his life-changing message in over 39 countries, written two books, completed a commerce degree, and now enjoys being a doting father.

    The path, which took Nick from hopeless and suicidal to a man, who knows that he is incredibly blessed and loved, is intertwined with knowing Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.

    “In my early years of school I encountered uncomfortable times of feeling rejected, weird and bullied because of my physical differences,” Nick remembers. “I went to Sunday School and learnt that God loves us all and that He cares for you. As a child I understood that love up to a point, but I didn’t understand that if God loved me, why did He make me like this?”

    “Is it because I did something wrong? I felt like I was a burden to those around me and the sooner I go, the better it would be for everyone.”

    Many lessons were yet to come. Nick says that one of the first was not taking things for granted. “I had that wake-up call around the age of twelve and realised just how much I was blessed with.

    “I take my foot for granted [which enables him to jump around], my family and the fact that I wasn’t born in a third world country — all blessings that God had freely given — and I still complain?”

    Two Bible verses spoke clearly to him. One was Romans chapter 8, verse 28, which says “And we know that in all things God works for the best for those who love Him.” “That verse spoke to my heart and convicted me to the point where I realised that there is no such thing as luck, chance or coincidence and that ‘bad’ things happen in our life,” says Nick. The other was James chapter 1, verses 3-4; “Know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Nick continues,

    “I had complete peace knowing that God won’t let anything happen to us in our life unless He has a good purpose for it all.”

    With his affectionately named “drumstick” foot, Nick says he can take care of his teeth, hair and dress himself, swim and type 40 words per minute. All his life experiences and understanding came to a head at age 15, when he prayed to Jesus Christ, believing that He died on the cross and rose again to provide him complete forgiveness for his wrong doing and an eternal relationship with God.

    “I completely gave my life to Christ after reading John chapter 9 in the Bible. Jesus said that the reason a certain man was born blind was ‘so that the works of God may be revealed through Him.’ I truly believed that God would heal me so I could be a great testimony of His awesome power. “Later on I was given the wisdom to understand that if we pray for something, if it’s God’s will, it’ll happen in His time. If it’s not God’s will for it to happen, then I know that He has something better. I now see that God is being honoured as He is using me just the way I am and in ways others can’t be used.”

    Nick is now 30 years old and has toured the world, sharing from his life and challenging relevant topics, in many venues such as schools, public meetings, churches and corporate meetings.

    “I have a passion for reaching out to youth and keep myself available for whatever God wants me to do,” he says. One of Nick’s favourite Bible verses is from Philippians chapter 4, verse 13; “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”


      • “When they were dating, Nick and Kanae remember seeing many interesting reactions from strangers. One bystander said through tears, “Now I believe in true love again.””

        I remember when Dabs said something to the effect that he should have been drowned at birth.

        He confronts us to the very core of our being, doesn’t he, just because he is. Yet we love who we love. Our heart seems to take on a life of its own at times when our heads say, “You’re mad; stop it!”, but it won’t listen to reason.

        Yep, I believe in true love too.



    There is a tribe in western New Guinea called the Sawi. Barely fifty years ago, the Sawi were head-hunters and cannibals. But the thing that made them more terrible than surrounding tribes was their idealisation of treachery and betrayal.

    The Sawi honoured treachery as their highest ideal. The ambition of a Sawi man was to become a hero by betraying someone who trusted in him. He would form a friendship with a person from another tribe with the sole intention of later killing and eating that person. The greater the betrayal a man devised, the greater the honour he received. The Sawi expression for this practice was: tuwi asonai man —“to fatten with friendship for the slaughter.”*

    Now, a culture that honours treachery is a culture that destroys trust. And the Sawi people experienced that lack of trust even among themselves. To avoid self-annihilation, they fragmented into small, isolated villages. When these villages had a falling-out, they faced a major problem over how to re-establish peace. If your code of honour as a people is “to fatten with friendship for the slaughter”, then every gesture of reconciliation and every display of friendship is viewed as suspect at best. So how could they establish a peace that could be trusted?

    Somewhere back in their history, the Sawi developed a custom to solve this problem. When warring villages reached the point where they were desperate for peace, they would each exchange a child. Fighting off his own and his wife’s anguish, a man from one side would offer his son to the other side, and vice versa. The gift of the infant was the only demonstration of good-will that could not be doubted. “If a man would actually give his own son to his enemies, that man could be trusted!” The offered infant was known as a tarop tim , a peace child. So long as the child lived, peace would prevail. And the people of the village took great care to protect their peace child from harm, not only because they wanted the peace to continue, but also because their custom demanded it. Indeed, if the best thing a Sawi could do was to betray someone he had befriended, the worst thing he could do was to betray a peace child or the people from whom the peace child had come.

    The Sawi practice of overcoming hostility by the gift of a peace child has some striking similarities to the Christmas story.

    The Bible teaches that there is a state of war between God and human beings. This hostility began when our first ancestors disobeyed God, and it continues to this day because we too have chosen to disobey Him. In order to put an end to this hostility, God offered us a Peace Child. On the first Christmas day 2,000 years ago He gave His Son, Jesus, to establish peace between Himself and ourselves. As one of the prophets said, “to us a child is born, to us a son is given … And He will be called … Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

    Some people may wonder if we really need a Peace Child. After all, we are not like the Sawi. We are not murderers and cannibals.

    While it is true that we are not guilty of murder and cannibalism, it is also true that each one of us is guilty of a far more serious sin. Each one of us has broken the most important commandment of all. The Lord Jesus said “the first and greatest commandment” is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:36-38).

    Apart from Jesus Himself, no one has ever fully kept this commandment. In fact, few people have even tried. In various ways and to varying degrees, every one of us has failed to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind. And all our other moral failures have arisen from this first, fundamental failure. By breaking the first and greatest commandment, we have destroyed the foundation for keeping the lesser commandments, such as, “You shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not lie; you shall not covet.” >/i> And by breaking the lesser commandments, we simply increase the antagonism between ourselves and God.

    But because of the great love that He has for us, almighty God did not destroy us or desert us. Instead, He offered us a Peace Child. Miraculously and mysteriously, He caused this child to be conceived by a virgin, whose name was Mary. The child was born in a stable instead of a house and laid in a feeding trough instead of a bassinet. And He was named “Jesus”, which means “Saviour”, because He came to earth to save us from the power and penalty of our sins. He did this by living a perfect life on our behalf and dying a dreadful death in our place. “God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

    To anyone who will receive Him by faith, Jesus is the Peace Child. He is the Son of God who reconciles us to God the Father. No wonder the angels sang at His birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests” (Luke 2:14)!

    * Don Richardson describes the Sawi and their customs in his fascinating book, Peace Child (Regal Books, 1974).

    CHALLENGE newspaper (Dec 2013)


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