Heaven on Earth – A glimpse of the hereafter in the here-and-now.
BY: Sharon Fitness for GOOD.
In 90 Minutes in Heaven, now streaming on GOOD., we meet Don Piper, who was in an horrific car crash and, without a pulse, presumed dead. EMT’s and police wait for the coroner to pronounce him dead so he can be moved. A man comes along, who feels led to pray for him, and starts to pray while singing praise songs. Don starts singing along and EMT’s confirm he now has a pulse. But Don is not happy and fights his recovery. He was on his way to heaven, and now he has been pulled back, with terrible injuries.
Based on a true story recounted in the New York Times Bestselling Novel of the same name, Piper says that during the ninety minutes he was dead, he was given a glimpse of heaven. He recalled seeing loved ones from his life on earth. He shared his experience standing outside the heavenly gates and being greeted by angelic figures.
I don’t think anyone would want to go through what Don Piper did for a glimpse of Heaven. And in a world often filled with chaos, stress, and the constant hustle and bustle of daily life, the concept of ‘Heaven on Earth’ can seem like a distant dream. Yet, the idea of experiencing moments of pure bliss and serenity amidst the mundane and the hectic is not just a fantasy; it’s a real and attainable goal. Individuals, cultures, and philosophies around the world embrace the concept of ‘Heaven on Earth’.
From a Christian perspective, Christians believe that they can experience glimpses of it through their relationship with God, and by reflecting God’s image in their lives. These moments of heavenly connection and fulfilment serve as a source of inspiration and motivation to live out their faith in the world.
Relationship with God
At the core of the Christian faith is the idea of a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. For Christians, finding ‘Heaven on Earth’ begins with a deep and abiding connection to God. Through prayer, worship, and a life of faith, believers experience moments of divine presence and communion that can feel heavenly. These spiritual experiences provide a sense of peace, purpose, and fulfilment that transcends the earthly realm.
Embracing the Present Moment
One of the core principles of finding ‘Heaven on Earth’ is the practice of mindfulness. It involves living in the present moment, fully immersing oneself in the here and now, understanding the importance of letting go of worries about the past and future and focusing on the beauty and simplicity of the present.
Mindfulness allows individuals to savour life’s small pleasures, from the warmth of the sun on their skin to the taste of a delicious meal. By appreciating these seemingly ordinary moments, one can create a sense of peace and contentment, akin to a slice of heaven.
Few things on Earth can rival the breathtaking beauty of nature. From the grandeur of towering mountains to the tranquility of a babbling brook, nature provides abundant opportunities to experience ‘Heaven on Earth’. Whether it’s watching a vibrant sunset, feeling the sand between your toes on a beach, or simply gazing at a starry night sky, nature offers moments of awe and wonder that can elevate the spirit.
Acts of Kindness
There’s a special kind of ‘Heaven on Earth’ that comes from performing acts of kindness. Whether it’s volunteering at a local shelter, helping a neighbour in need, or simply offering a smile to a stranger, these acts can create a sense of fulfilment and happiness that transcends the ordinary.
Christians believe that they are created in the image of God and called to reflect His attributes, such as love, kindness, and righteousness. In striving to live according to these values, believers seek to bring a taste of heaven to Earth by embodying the divine qualities and virtues of their Creator.
Jesus’ teachings emphasise love for God and love for one’s neighbour as foundational principles of the Christian life. A taste of ‘Heaven on Earth’ is experienced by practicing selfless love and compassion toward others. Acts of kindness, forgiveness, and service not only align with Jesus’ teachings but also bring a sense of joy and fulfilment that mirrors the heavenly virtues.
Personal Passion and Creativity
For many, ‘Heaven on Earth’ can be found in the pursuit of their passions and the expression of their creativity. It might be painting, writing, playing music, or engaging in any activity that allows one to lose themselves in the flow of creativity. These moments of pure inspiration and self-expression can feel like a glimpse of Heaven itself.
Love and Relationships
‘Heaven on Earth’ can also be found in the realm of love and relationships. The bonds formed with family, friends, and romantic partners can provide a deep sense of connection, support, and happiness. It’s in the laughter shared with loved ones, the comfort of their presence, and the knowledge that you are cherished that we often find our most heavenly moments.
Transformative Faith, Grace and Restoration
Christianity teaches that faith has the power to transform lives. When individuals turn to God in faith, they often experience profound changes in their perspectives, attitudes, and behaviours. These transformations can bring a sense of liberation and renewal, akin to being freed from earthly burdens and experiencing the freedom of heaven. For Christians, finding ‘Heaven on Earth’ includes moments of personal redemption and grace. These moments, often marked by forgiveness and reconciliation, bring a deep and heavenly sense of peace and restoration.
‘Heaven on Earth’ may be an abstract concept, and is a deeply personal experience. It’s about finding moments of beauty, joy, and connection in the midst of life’s chaos. Whether through relationship with God, mindfulness, the beauty of nature, kindness, love and compassion, creativity, or relationships, each of us has the ability to create our own slices of Heaven in this world. By embracing these moments of heavenly connection and fulfilment, we can cultivate a sense of inner peace and gratitude, making our journey on Earth a truly heavenly one and we can discover a source of inspiration and motivation to live out our faith in the world.
About the Author: Sharon Fitness is a staff writer for GOOD. She’s a movie buff, TV fan, foodie and dog lover.
Images: 90 Minutes in Heaven promotional content from GOOD.