Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Place

When I was in college, my minister and his family had a place in the mountains of North Carolina. On several spring breaks, a group of us would go there to relax and, of course, study (though for some reason, our books never made it out of the car!). It was a beautiful, peaceful, wonderful spot.

On walks in the area, we came across an undeveloped lot, where the ground was carpeted by the needles from the pines, sunlight filtered through the tall trees, and a small stream softly sang nearby. I decided when the time was right, I would buy that spot and build a house. But the timing was never right, someone else bought it, and built something completely out of character with the location. But for years, that spot was my idea of what heaven would be like.

In John 14, Jesus tells his friends that he is going to prepare a "place" for them. What does your place look like, in your mind's eye?

Is it an old Victorian mansion with big, airy rooms; cobwebs lurking in the corners; heavy drapes cuddling the tall windows; doilies on the arms of the big, comfortable chairs?

Is it a modern, one-level house, where there are no steps to trouble your arthritic knees?

Perhaps you envision a child's room with a mobile of Noah's Ark turning above your bed, and God sitting in a rocking chair by the window, just waiting for you to crawl up in her lap for a snuggle and a bedtime story.

Today, I hope the place that Jesus is getting ready for me looks like the Isle of Iona, with the water and sky constantly changing; with St. Columba's Shrine a space for silence and tranquility; where we gather to share at God's Table, as the Bread of Heaven takes the loaf and hands it to me, saying, "This is my body, for you."

Thanks be to God.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

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