Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Your presence is heaven to me

Like all liberal theologians* I find that some unpalatable songs become palatable when we mess around with the meaning of words.

For example, here's one that's doing the rounds at the moment: Israel Houghton's "Your presence is heaven to me."

But I find the mysticism jarring. I feel nothing in songs like this, nothing other than chord progressions. But when I do hear this song, or even sing it at church, this happens:

Your presence
From Matt 25 we learn that just as we treat the least, that's exactly how we treat Jesus. And from Matt 18 we learn that where two or three are gathered in Jesus' name, he is there. Jesus' presence is in the people around us, in the neighbour, in the other.

Heaven
From Rev 21 we learn that it is not us who go to heaven, but it is heaven that has come down to us and formed the church. Heaven is now invading this world in the church.

So when I hear "your presence is heaven to me" it always means "the people around me, believers or needy, are the presence of God in this world and by being among them I am in heaven."

Silly physicalist Christian that I am, but without this the song is a meaningless ditty.





* Stereotypes are welcome here, just for this sentence.
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