He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
— Acts 1:9
Let me ask you a question: Where is heaven?
This is not an easy question to answer. But perhaps your first reaction is to look up, or maybe to point up with your finger. This is how the ancients thought about heaven. But we humans today have been to outer space, and we know it stretches farther than we can imagine—and we have not found God’s throne floating around out there.
After his death and resurrection Jesus ascended into heaven. He was “taken up” from the ground, and “a cloud hid him” from the sight of his followers. Jesus went up and behind something to somewhere. So while heaven may be up, it is also apparently a dimension that exists behind or beyond our three-dimensional world. Perhaps heaven is actually quite near to us, just beyond a veil or curtain in our 3-D world.
Even more important, though, we can experience a bit of heaven whenever God draws us close. One of the ways this can happen is when the church gathers for worship. And I think Christ draws us especially close when we take part in the meal he has given us. In the actions of receiving and giving bread and wine (or juice), when Christ tells us that these elements are his body and blood and we are spiritually nourished, heaven and earth intersect, and we are blessed and strengthened.
Christ our Lord, thank you for drawing us close and allowing us to experience a bit of heaven when gather to eat at your table. Amen.