banquet

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today at church this “mantra” kept going through my head, “More of thee, and less of me.” I realize it is my mind’s way of combining the lessons from yesterday’s centering prayer yoga lesson,  today’s Sunday school class, and today’s church sermon. Yes, this idea was planted, and it won’t go away. This mantra can mean more of others, more of God, more of Great Spirit—but not more of my self-serving ego.

I think what brought this idea to “prominence” in my internal dialogue today  is a story our rector told this morning when the Sunday school class was discussing the concept of heaven—what it is, if it has a specific location, etc. Someone had just commented, “I think hell is on earth. We make our own hell.” He responded by telling this story: “Once upon a time someone asked God to show him heaven and hell. God took him to a place where there was table after table lined up, piled  high with food and drink. People were sitting on both sides of the tables. They all had a stiff spoon permanently attached  to their arms from their shoulders down the whole length of their arms. This ‘wooden spoon splint’ made it impossible for the people to bend their elbows and feed themselves. They were hungry. They were starving. They were cursing. God told the man ‘this is hell.’Next,  God took him to another destination which, once again, was a huge space full of lined up tables, piled high with food and drink. Again, there were people seated on both sides who could not bend their arms because of the ‘wooden spoon’ splints on them. These people were smiling; they were happy. They were not hungry; they were not starving. They simply reached across the table and fed the people sitting across from them. God told the man “this is heaven.”

What I got out of this story is that we do indeed create our own heaven and hell. If we live our lives focused only on ourselves and meeting our own needs, we will never be happy. If, instead, we live our lives serving others we will be happy. My  new concept of heaven means living the Golden Rule and sharing God’s love. That means God can be everywhere, God is in each of us, and God’s love can and should be shared with others. It is only through the sharing of God’s love that we can be happy and create “heaven on earth”.

So, when I tell myself “more of thee and less of me” I mean “let me be filled with God’s love rather than self love;  and let me share God’s love with others. It is only by giving and sharing that I can truly receive and appreciate God’s blessings and help create heaven here on earth—-in me, around me, in you, and around you.

Please comment and share your thoughts about “heaven”—–is it a destination or a way of being and relating to others, here, now and always with God’s love?  I look forward to reading your comments as I think each of us has our own unique and different concept of what/where heaven is and what it means in our current and eternal lives. May God bless and keep you.

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