It was Sunday afternoon, and a small boy had been to church for the first time. He had listened carefully to the sermon and was prepared with an answer when he was asked what he had learned. "I'm going to heaven," he announced. Then he added solemnly, ". . . but not today."
The concept of heaven as a pleasant place we go to sometime in the future -- probably when we die -- is widespread. But Christ Jesus was specific in his teaching that heaven is, in fact, here now. He said, "The Kingdom of heaven is at hand." n1 And he told his disciples that heaven was "within" them -- indicating that it is a state of consciousness that is always available. We don't have to go from place to place to find it. We have, instead, to recognize the presence of God's immortal universe. Then we will feel the harmony His law of love assures.
n1 Matthew 4:17.
The Bible reveals that there is one God, divine Life, the creator of all, and that man reflects God's subllime nature. This wholly perfect Maker maintains His universe in eternal perfection. There is no other power and no other influence but His. God's will is the undeviating law of good. As the wise writer of Ecclesiastes said, "Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: Nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it." n2
n2 Ecclesiastes 3:14.
It was this understanding of the perfection of man's real, spiritual being as created by God, that enabled Jesus to heal those who were sick, blind, lame. He transformed people's lives from discord to harmony. He understood that they already were in the kingdom of heaven, under the jurisdiction of perfect Mind, reflecting eternal Life, and supplied with the amply satisfying gifts of Soul.
The Master did not require people to wait until they died to enjoy heavenly peace, nor did he teach his followers to expect to wait for even a day. "Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation," n3 said the Apostle Paul. And Mary Baker Eddy n4 has shown us how we, too, may enjoy the blessings of heaven now, rather than wait for tomorrow.
n3 II Corinthians 6:2.
n4 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesm Mrs. Eddy defines "Kingdom of Heaven" as "the reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme." n5 And elsewhere in the same book she writes, "Heaven is not a locality, but a divine state of Mind in which all the manifestations of Mind are harmonious and immortal, because sin is not there and man is found having no righteousness of his own, but in possession of 'the mind of the Lord,' as the Scripture says." n6
n5 Science and Health,m p. 590.
n6 ibid.,m p. 291.
Heaven, then, is within reach of us all -- now. We don't have to wait for it. We can even "go to heaven" today if we will honestly follow Jesus' example and realize that God's universe is always at hand. In truth we are permanent residents of that universe, living now in the atmosphere of Soul, under the jurisdiction of divine law. And when we do wholeheartedly acknowledge this fact in the spirit of the Christ, we will find our lives transformed. Healing will occur. Where there seemed to be discord there will be concord; where disease and discomfort were apparent there will be health and peace; and where we felt lack we will be conscious of abundance. Having "the mind of the Lord," we will know God's perfect law is supreme, and feel that we're safely in heaven today. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5, 6