United in heaven and on earth
No matter our background, fundamentally we are all brothers and sisters in God. And each of us is capable of experiencing and expressing more heavenly harmony and unity, right here and now.
On a college study abroad trip I went on, we visited Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories. As part of our study, we were asked to consider what makes the land holy.
One of the destinations we visited was Mount Nebo, where the biblical figure named Moses had gone after spending 40 years leading the Israelites through the desert after freeing them from captivity in Egypt. He went to the top of Mount Nebo to get a glimpse of the Promised Land, where they were headed.
As I stood on top of this mountain overlooking the Jordan Valley, a woman came up next to me. She wore a beautiful red dress that completely covered her, and a deep maroon hijab over her head. She began to ask me questions about where I was from and why I was at Mount Nebo with so many Americans.
After answering her questions, I felt inspired to ask her what she thought as she looked out at the view. After a brief moment of contemplation, the woman turned to me and said, “Heaven. You are a Christian, and I am a Muslim; but in heaven, God only sees one, and there is nothing that can divide us.”
Her comment brought tears to my eyes. Then, one of her friends came and told the woman, “It is time to pray.” As she walked away, she called back to me, “I’ll see you in heaven!”
However, I knew that I didn’t need to wait to see her in a far-off place called “heaven,” because right there truly was heaven. “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, includes a glossary with spiritual definitions of biblical terms. The book defines “heaven” this way: “Harmony; the reign of Spirit; government by divine Principle; spirituality; bliss; the atmosphere of Soul” (p. 587).
Right in that moment, which the Muslim woman and I had shared, we were experiencing the reign of God, Spirit, through our expression of harmony and bliss – of family and oneness with God.
Christ Jesus taught his followers to love all humanity. Although this woman was of a different faith from me, she and I are sisters, spiritual offspring of our heavenly Parent. At that moment, and still today as I think about that moment, she and I are in heaven, united through the spiritual fact that God made every individual at one with Him and in kinship with one another.
In heaven – in “the reign of Spirit; . . . the atmosphere of Soul” – we are not divided, human labels have no recognition, and all God’s ideas are unified in harmony under the one Almighty God. Each of us is capable of experiencing something of this ever-present heaven, right where we are.
Adapted from an article published in the October 2020 issue of The Christian Science Journal.
Some more great ideas! To read an article in the weekly Christian Science Sentinel on the present-day relevance of the Christmas story titled “Let's return to the manger,” please click through to www.JSH-Online.com. There is no paywall for this content.