Heaven came to earth this week at Higher Things. It sounds weird, doesn’t it? I mean, we live on earth, right? We have mortal bodies. We are the very dust of this earth, belonging to creation and living in this world as humans. We are sinners, every single one of us, from the very core of our being. There is no denying the fact that earth, even as it houses the greatest temples and treasures of our lives, is not worthy to hold heaven itself, even for a second.
But what if I told you that it does happen? What if I told you that there are things not of this world – higher things – that excel beyond the many temples we build, the riches we inherit, and the many other identities that this earth gives us?
This week in Grand Rapids, Michigan, an eight-sided chapel at Calvin College housed over 900 of God’s baptized children, weak in their sins, thirsty for God’s salvation, and hands outstretched not to offer the only “lower” things they possess but to receive the “higher” things promised in Word and Sacrament. “High above earth [God’s] temple stands,” excelling over all other earthly temples and giving to us the highest and greatest gift, that is, the Gospel. God, who became man in human flesh, came from heaven to earth, choosing to “live with us in love, making our bodies His temple,” as these forgiven sinners sang as part of the eternal family of Christ in heaven. Their song of “Te Deum” soared through the chapel in glorious unity under the cross. Even as church bells are ringing, even as voices are raising, and even as the Gospel is being proclaimed and taught, God’s message of salvation continues to shine.
Here at Higher Things, we profess boldly with an “Amen,” knowing that where Christ is, there also is His Bride, the Church. From the lips of our sinful mouths comes the sweet Gospel we sing that gives us faith – faith that comes only from Jesus and delights in Him. Here at Higher Things, we are called into God’s temple of Christ and also into the world as Christ lives in us. Here at Higher Things, God comes to us, stooping low to heal us when we falter by giving His Son in our flesh to be our Savior. Here at Higher Things, heaven coming to earth does happen, and that is certainly something worth singing about!
Bethany Woelmer is a member at Faith Lutheran Church in Plano, TX.