Pieces of heaven

There is this dumpling place in town that’s always jam-packed. Full of white people. I’ve seen lines outside this joint, but no self-respecting Chinese person ever chooses to eat here. I’m practically white on the inside but even I can’t explain the freak of cuisine that is pumpkin dumplings – seriously, what were they thinking?

But my friend Nick adores this place. While the rest of us are trying to navigate the menu (avoiding the pumpkin dumplings, of course), he already knows what he’s going to order and so he sits there bopping. What I mean to say is he’s positively bubbling with excitement in anticipation of the dumplings to come.

To his credit, when Leah and I say we’ll share whatever he wants to eat, Nick makes some decent selections, including Shanghai pork dumplings and not one but two plates of Chinese vegetables.

The dishes arrive and bliss floods his widening eyes. As he sits there munching, I can see he’s in a happy place.

Meanwhile, Percy has inexplicably picked satay-flavoured lamb. I haven’t decided if this is more ridiculous than pumpkin dumplings. Percy’s not really into dumplings, and Nick can’t for the life of him understand why.

“How can you not like dumplings? They’re little pieces of heaven!” he cries.

And I think, while this place won’t ever be my restaurant of choice, it’s truly wonderful when the simple things in life can make a person so, so happy.

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Marketing says stuff like “escape to paradise”, “have an experience that’s out of this world”, “enjoy a taste of heaven”. I think there’s an element of truth in the slogans and why the idea of heaven on earth appeals to us. After all, the Maker of this earth is eternal and He is active in the world.

Below are just a few of the things I reckon have a whiff of eternity about them.

Matt Corby’s voice:

Really great conversations that are real, raw, spiritual – whether or not you’re talking religion.

That moment around twilight and dawn when the sky is a blazing, electrifying shade of blue:

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Michael Ondaatje’s prose and Pablo Neruda’s poetry.

The magic conjured up by old family photographs:

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… And also, Kingdom justice being done in a broken world.

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Lifting a family out of poverty.

Empowering a destitute widow.

Restoring a survivor of sexual abuse.

These are pieces of heaven expressing Kingdom truth and power.

These are pieces of heaven pointing to our ultimate home and the day when all that is wrong in the world will be made right, made new.

These are pieces of heaven declaring God’s might and character.

Because evangelism, missions, the Great Commission – whatever we want to call it – is far more than using our voice to say that Jesus is God incarnate who died for our sins and rose again so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. It’s more than saying, “In the name of Jesus, eat! In the name of Jesus, be healed!”

It’s hope in the face of despair. Light in the darkest night. Truth at a time when you can’t be sure what that means anymore, if it even exists.

If we follow Jesus, we should be sowing eternal things even now, and verbal communication is only a small part of the message we convey.

So what do our lives – our non-verbal gestures, our attitudes, where we invest our time and our money – say about heaven? Our lives, as flawed as they are, should be unwavering in communicating a vision that is unashamedly celestial and persuasively hope-filled.

We should be living so as to leave behind, day-by-day, little pieces of heaven so that those around us will know the flavour of eternity and taste that God is good.

Any comments, thoughts? I'd love to hear from you :)

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