BBC Radio Merseyside Thought for the Day 21/8/2007
This week I'm talking about the idea of Heaven in the Ordinary. But what on earth do we mean by heaven?
The first thing most comedians tell us about heaven is that there's a bloke sitting there at the door. And all our ideas about heaven are connected to the way we see life on earth. That's why we say that in heaven the cooks are French, the policemen are English, the mechanics are German, the lovers are Italian, and the bankers are Swiss; whereas in Hell: the cooks are English, the policemen are German, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss, and the bankers are Italian.
When we picture heaven we tend to see it as a familiar place. When we talk about heaven it's in terms and images we understand - ordinary terms and images. So I take a funeral for a man whose passion was fishing, and his family tell me that they can 'see him now', sitting by that river where there is no pollution and where the catch is always good. So we read the book of Revelation and we notice that the new heaven and the new earth look very familiar: it's Jerusalem, an ordinary city albeit scrubbed-up nicely so that God can live there with the rest of us.
All of this may help us to understand that there could just be some great wisdom hidden in the simple words of that well known pop song with the chorus, Ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth? Ooh, heaven is a place on earth.