“Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony,” said Abraham to the rich man in Jesus’ parable.
In life, the rich man held God and Lazarus at a distance, out beyond his wall, and he “feasted sumptuously everyday.” In death, he found that same distance excruciating; that same barrier, oppressive; that same feast, utterly empty. This is not punishment, as we usually think of it. God gave the rich man exactly what he wanted.
Heaven is union with God, pure and simple. Communion, because as we find ourselves in God, we also discover ourselves in community with all people and all creation. Communion, because union always includes sharing food and all of life’s material necessities.
“Life,” Richard Rohr says, “is all about practicing for heaven. … Everyone is in heaven when he or she has plenty of room for communion and no need for exclusion. … The more you exclude, the more hellish and lonely your existence always is.”
What is God asking you to do, be, or change, so it would be “on earth as it is in heaven”?
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
715 South Third Street
Clinton, IA 52732
(at the foot of the south bridge)