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Drawing Distinctions

Where is the line between heaven and earth? When people pass, what do they pass? Where do they cross from here to there? If we’re headed toward something, shouldn’t we see it so we’ll know when we get there?

I see you…. you line on the horizon. But you are fickle. Yes, as the sun rises, you take shape. But as the sun sets, you fade and I can’t see you anymore. Certainly not in the distance. Up close all I can see is darkness. It feels firm at my feet, yet I can reach into it. The air has a different texture. Which is you? Where are you? Where is the line between?

Ah, when the sun rises, I’ll see! But wait: the fog obscures; the snow covers; the rain pelts; everything tosses to and fro in the wind. Where is the line? Where can I step to safety? Stand fast? Reach across? I just want to know where the border line is, so I’ll know I’m close.

If I crossed and looked back, would I see it then? From over or beyond or within, would the line be clear between terrestrial and heavenly? Between what was earthly and what was not?

No, I think not. Because Lord, when You stepped down from Kingdom into Dominion, You brought the line with you. Wherever You went, the Kingdom was. When you died and returned to heaven did you take this distinction with You? Did you erase the line? Obscure the evidence? Muddy the waters?

Or did you leave it with us?

As we enter our days, could it be that we cannot see the line between heaven and earth because it surrounds us? Actually encircling our travels, an amorphous heavenly goop (okay see-through slime if you will), that moves as we move. It goes before us and behind us and hems us in on each side. Perhaps the earth we see, the darkness and the poverty as well as the lightness and joy, we see through this heavenly plasma around us. Perhaps, it’s meant to tint our sight if we tune our eyes to just the right frequency. Oh, the strain and squint of the effort.

My eyes need rest. I count on them for so much. How can I count on them for this? Why must I work so hard to distinguish lines on the horizon or boundaries near at hand?

I want to trust that You are the line between and the passageway from here to there. Whether darkness or light, You are there in the middle. Perhaps I don’t need to know where the line is, just that it is. Perhaps there is no line, just a distance which is narrowed each time I reach out or over and feel for what’s in the darkness and pull it closer.

What runs through the center?

In the beginning, we agreed.

Then there was the smallest ripple of discontent.

A mere, “Aw come on.” And so we did.

But we didn’t. Agree, that is.

There was the tap, “Look at it this way.”

Which led to the shoulder shake, “You have to admit…”

which resulted in the back turn

where after came the word toss

followed closely by the paper airplane propaganda.

We sneered and shot withering glances

which now fell quite short across the broad expanse.

So we threw stones

that were answered by cannon;

Our artillery barrage

was met by sniper fire.

We’re exposed. Take cover!

We retreat and regroup in our caves

across the crevasse,

a huge canyon now between us.

Sad, we say. We didn’t want this, we say.

We are a people who love, we tell ourselves.

Love rains down into our canyon, cuts through rock and stone to shape cliffs and ledges, gouging cracks into crevices into streams of unhindered flow to the bottom where it runs and tumbles and gurgles and plays.

Clear and sweet and icy cold.

I am thirsty.

Dare I risk a sip, standing on its banks?

So exposed. So naked.

I would be so close – 

so close I could see them,

perhaps even hear them.

What then?

In the beginning, God came from a great distance, down a great chasm, into a wide ravine and turned water to wine. Drink, all who are thirsty.

That’s good wine, we agreed. 

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