by Ken Rolheiser
The Pale Blue Dot Earth and Heaven

Billy Graham was asked about heaven: “What happens to us the minute we die?” The short version answer Graham gave was, “We enter immediately into God’s presence.”

We know where we are on this earth. From space we are a pale blue dot, “a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” (From Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, Carl Sagan)

In a reflection that can only humble us Sagan continues: “Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.

“…every hunter and forager, every hero and coward …every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child …every corrupt politician …every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there…”

And then in the way of instruction Sagan goes on: “Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner… Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the 'Momentary' masters of a 'Fraction' of a 'Dot'.”

Now think of the eternal dimension we are heir to. How do we anticipate our entry into the realm of the Spirit? Much of the heavy lifting has already been done. The Saints in their vision and longing for the Lord have passed on this truth to us: Long for the Lord. Get to know the Lord and you will not be disappointed.

“Seek the road that makes death a fulfilment.” Dag Hammarskjold

The coming of death in our lives is a game changer, but it cannot take us from our set course and our faith in Jesus. When someone we love is dying, when we get a dreadful diagnosis, then we find our perspective of reality challenged.

The Persian poet Rumi gives us a challenging wake up call for that time in our lives when we ponder the great mystery that our physical decay is also the beginning of life.
Wake up lovers; it is time to start the journey! We've seen enough of this world; it is time to see another.

Every day is still a gift from a loving God. True, it brings us one day closer to that union with love and all the saints. Now is that a cause for worry? Whether we now measure time by the hour, by the day or by the year, God is with us, pouring out grace and comfort.

Joy and hope are not lost when our physical strength and beauty wane. We are reminded of a loving God in Jeremiah 31: “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have called you, and you are mine.”

We are in the hands of God through whom all this creation came into being and through whom it is sustained every moment. Wordsworth said: “A motion and a spirit, that impels / All thinking things, all objects of all thought, / And rolls through all things” (Lines - Tintern Abbey 100-102)

Jesus demonstrated God’s power over all these laws of nature by rising from the dead, ascending into heaven and promising he will prepare a place for us. This little blue dot is not a bad place to be!

(580 words)