Reflections by Maxie Dunnam

During the last few weeks, when I awake in the middle of the night and don’t return to sleep quickly, not to awaken Jerry, I sing in my mind. Interestingly the most frequent songs that come to mind are Gospel Songs that we sang in the little country church of my youth. I’m 88 years old, and these are songs I heard and sang over 70 years ago. 

The first verse and the chorus of the one that comes most frequently is “When we all get to Heaven,” 

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus 
Sing His mercy and His grace; 
In the mansions bright and blessed 
He’ll prepare for us a place. 

When we all get to Heaven, 
What a day of rejoicing that will be! 
When we all see Jesus, 
We’ll sing and shout the victory! 

I’m sure, since all of us here at Kirby are in my age category, my hunch is you can identify with that, some of you have sung it. We are strongly aware of our mortality, and we think of life after death. We think of that in terms of some vision of Heaven. But let’s get it straight… 

Heaven is Here, not There. 

I often express it this way: Our Father sent his Son, Jesus, not to get us into heaven, but to get heaven into us. By His death and Resurrection, He saves us, but more. In his ascension, through the Holy Spirit He leaves His presence, and his ongoing ministry is getting heaven into us. 

So we share in answering Jesus’ prayer, 
Thy Kingdom come… 
…on Earth as it is in Heaven. 

We seek to live now as though 
the Kingdom had already come. 

How? By being continually open to the Holy Spirit, and “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) 

Doesn’t all that fruit look like and sound like what we have thought Heaven might look and feel like? Well, that’s the heaven Jesus wants to get into each one of us. 

-Maxie Dunnam