While at New Horizons training yesterday (a two-Saturday training program to learn how to best serve homeless youth, also a pre-req for volunteering there) that life can be thought of in terms of layers. For example, I encountered this on Urban Plunge. Suddenly, now that I was dressed a certain way, the droning of certain things was no longer audible, but a very different rhythm of words and images were emphasized -- some of which had been heretofore less noticeable, and others not perceived at all. While in Westlake, in the midst of shoppers, policemen, and all other variety of people, pot could be requested for or offered to us with no hesitation. How did I not notice this while there any of the times I went there as a kid with my family? I think that a similar layer was omnipresent in high school, one concerning the sexual and drug-related exploits of my fellow classmates, though I was equally oblivious to this, because I wasn't really addressed with it or seeking it out.
I think that this is what Jesus meant when He said that the Kingdom of Heaven is now. A leader at a camp I went to likened it to the spectrum of light that we can and can't see, the latter limited by our bodies, and that our spiritual "eyes" have similar limits. To me, this whole thing implies two things:
a) Heaven doesn't feel like it is a place "over there" to me, but rather that reality that we cannot perceive completely right now.
b) We can perceive it and participate in it, at least in part, in a similar sort of "layer-shifting" that went on during Plunge.
I'm pretty sure this looks different for everyone, too. One of my dear friends and I were talking yesterday, and I got on him a little about being overly bold and explicit about his faith, that Jesus doesn't desire us to smother people. He's the sort whose intensity for God always seems about to stop increasing, but somehow, it never does, and I admire him immensely for it. In the conversation, while he agreed with what I was saying, it became clear that deepening connection to the Kingdom meant different things for us right now. As can be seen in the previous post, I am finding a distinct call to be more silent in my faith, becoming not dependent upon feelings or experience, but on a metronome-like prayer life, a direction my friend is not headed. I have been so perpetually struck this year by how different God works in people, something that can seem frightening/discouraging/confusing at first, but has become a thing of beauty for me. "Don't badmouth what God is doing in other churches." -- Dr. Nüesch-Olver. Not sure if that was going somewhere particular, but this seems a sufficient place to stop, yes.