"First, they flourished in their regular communion with a God who met them in the heart of a universe pulsating with beauty. Then, they enjoyed the deepest, most un-scared intimacy humans have ever known, and lastly, they knew the great delight of living on a world entirely made 'good'...that is the 'peace' which is evident in God's handiwork".
Paraphrased from Michael Wittmer's 'Heaven is a Place on Earth'.
We can often imagine it would make so much difference...
Encountering 'God' in a fashion that is so 'above and beyond' the normal -
yes, that would do it!
As that entire nation stood on the verge of tragedy, they witnessed just such a miracle...
the deliverance from the tyranny of Egypt, but for most of them, it was of no value.
Soon, they were back to their old ways, harking for the very diminished humanity they had escaped.
We live in a world where so much today is conformed to the moment - the popular view, the current data, the 'right' understanding of exactly who and what we are. How much is actually lost in succumbing to such a situation?
In like tempo, the modern church can so often mimic the very 'spirituality' of those who escaped Egypt - we grasp for God in ways that leave us starved or merely seeking to satiate a miss-placed 'godliness' - hence Paul's vivid reminder of what was and is in 1 Corinthians 10 - but we, like those alienated by unbelief, can be divorced from the God who is here.
We need to realize, as Gerhard Forde so aptly notes, that ' Grace saves nature not by adding something to it, not by raising it to a supposedly higher level, but by allowing it to become what it was intended to be - the good (pleasing) creation'.
In His talk with Nicodemus, Jesus tells us that the 'judgment' which has already fallen is that when 'light' is there, we prefer darkness;
give us the noise of an excited 'signs and wonders' crusade where we can loose ourselves in the 'god' of the moment, but do not give us the blunt reality of baptism, where we become swallowed, with all creation, into Christ's death and resurrection! Speak through the latest prophet of 'peace' or rationality to MY goals and gain, but do not take me to bread and wine, to be joined to God in THAT fashion!
Do we see what is conveyed to us when God's word takes the common and invests this with
God seeks to bring us to a stark reality.
Here, at the heart of time and space, is one who has met us, face to face,
and there, He has stemmed our folly, has acted in a manner we cannot accept, unless He opens our eyes and harries us in!
When the great day comes, how sudden, how astounding, the realization:
God is HERE - heaven is pitched on earth, and we all stand on holy ground!