"The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less." 2 Cor. 5.5
This is a verse from one of the Anglican readings for this coming Sunday. I've been asked to preach, so it's on my mind. Then again, it may be on the tip of my tongue. Or the palms of my hands. Possibly the balls of my feet. Maybe that'll make a little more sense if we keep going. The entire passage has an emphasis on the life yet to come - heaven, glory, over Jordan, Colorado, whatever you want to call it, o.k? And the surface reading seems to be that this life is a crapshoot and the good stuff is yet to come; however, first we've got to endure this vale of tears. I've no problem with that - I believe there's much truth there. But, if God is whetting our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead and He's putting a little of heaven in our hearts, where is that taking place? [Cut to the chase] I believe those heavenly appetizers are being served to us right here on earth in the realm of blood and bone and sinew and muscle and spit and pee and earwax. I mean, where else could it be happening? Some might answer, "Well, in the spirit." Forgive me, but I don't know what that means. That sounds very ethereal, quite other-worldly and just a little Gnostic; Gnostic, as in, secretive, as in, you have to have the secret handshake or know the secret DaVinci code to get in the "spirit."
So, maybe the challenge is for us to continually be attentive to the world inside and around us, because that's where these foretastes are occurring; in other words, via our senses. There's a wonderful phrase in the story of the prodigal son that the entire story turns on - "When he came to his senses..." What if that means not only his thoughts or reason, but it equally means his sight, smell, taste, hearing, and so on. Maybe being heavenly-minded means being earthly attentive? Not numbed to our senses, as many of us usually are, but truly awake and alive to what we're seeing or hearing or tasting. One writer referred to what we usually do as "unconscious Christianity" - not fully present. So many believers or people of faith I've met over the years are so uncomfortable with their bodies that the senses are totally shut down or cinched up tight in a girdle of some sort - spiritual, I'm sure. But what if God is trying to show us images, sing us songs or feed us meals of what's to come, but we continually miss them? The New Testament definition of "sin" is missing the mark - could the negation of the body and her senses be sinful? We usually think of it the other way around...More later.