A collision is when two things crash together and cause a reaction. When two hands crash together, you hear clapping. When a cue ball smashes into the triangle, the other pool balls scatter everywhere. When a boxer's fist collides with another's face, you see a tooth fly.
Last weekend (February 23-25), 24 of us took the short trip up to Mt. Asbury in Newville for our annual 8.1.2. Retreat (8th-12th grade students). We experienced an awesome weekend of learning about heaven, playing football in the rain, having great conversation, playing games, doing puzzles, and just being together as a group. As usual, we left exhausted, filled (spiritually and from all the great food), and a little closer to each other.
Personally, this was one of my favorite retreats that I have been on with this group. From the people that went along, to preparing the lessons, to the games we played (Charming does not always mean handsome, Team Kerchow!!!!), to the moments of reflection and small group times, it was a great weekend. But I really think what we learned about heaven was super valuable for all of us, and I hope that message can stick with all of us who were on the trip, and it can be spread to others as well.
Heaven is something that we hear a lot about, but at the same time, we don't do much to learn about it. We see a lot about it in TV and movies, in comic books and memes, and this image of souls fluttering off to a retirement home in the clouds kind of sticks with us. We think of heaven as this location we go to after we die, and so it means little to us as Christians other than an escape plan from this Earth.
But what if heaven was so much more than that? What if it was more than something our souls experience after we die?
Jesus reveals heaven to us in His time on Earth. In His parables, He often started by saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like..." and then explained what it's like. Then He acted that out. He was literally bringing the behavior of heaven to Earth. He was not saying, "Oh hey, this is what heaven is like -- you'll get to go there sometime." NO! He talked about it, then He backed it up by SHOWING us what it looked like. He partied with sinners. He elevated lowly people to a place of honor. He served others. He healed others. He showed what restoration looked like in our daily lives. And then He told us to do the same. Heaven is not so much a location, but a reality defined by God's will being done.
There is so much evidence in the Scriptures that God intends for heaven to be on Earth. His Creation was declared as good. In Revelation, the "new Jerusalem" comes down to the earth. Jesus told us to pray "your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." WE are the ones to continue Jesus' mission of bringing heaven to earth. We are the ones to cause the attitude of heaven to crash into our world. We are called to create a collision of heaven and earth.
There is SO much more to this that we discussed over the weekend, but the challenge the kids were left with was, "how will you create collisions of heaven and earth in your life?"
Collisions of heaven and earth are not always humongous moments. Sometimes they are simple and sweet. If you ever have connected to God through music -- that's the worship of heaven colliding with earth. When you see two people make up after a fight -- forgiveness laid out in front of you -- that's heaven colliding with earth. When a church invites a stranger in for a meal -- a collision. Moments where you see Jesus create, restore, reconcile, and love through other people -- Heaven and earth are colliding in front of you. And you can create those moments for other people, just as Jesus asked us to do. So, next time you need reminded of your mission as a Christian, think of how Jesus created collisions of heaven and earth, and asked us to do the same.