After several years of dating my first wife became impatient and decided to propose marriage. On that fateful night, she made a wonderful dinner, purchased a beautiful red wine and created an appropriate ambiance, candlelight included.
Finally the moment neared and she utter, “Honey, will you marry me.”
“Of course,” I replied stoically.
After a few minutes of silence, my fiancé queried, “Honey, you haven’t said a word.”
“Oh, quite the contrary. I’ve probably said too much.”
I reflected upon my experience while listening to a famous theologian ponder the marriage between heaven and earth. As Richard Pratt said, “We think that Jesus came to forgive our sins, make our souls sparkle, sprinkle us with peace and joy so we can sprout wings when we die, grab a harp and join the eternal choir.” I may not always agree with Pratt, but I love the thought.
Personally, I have no clue how God will choose to marry heaven and earth. For many, the thought creates a conundrum of two visions. One vision entails everyone holding ‘Pratt’s’ version, including the harp and singing unity to the great one. The other vision extends the same flaws currently experienced here on earth, terrible wars in the name of that God, sexism, children of all ages not having enough spiritual food, etc., etc., etc.
For those who believe in traditional conservative approaches, when God marries heaven and earth, there will be a negotiation. Thus, those who currently dictate the rules of God’s love must inevitably experience God’s renegotiation of the boundaries between heaven and earth. Therefore, a difficult question must be answered: are we willing to trade a system that has served others so poorly for one that will serve others so well?
In truth, from a Buddhist perspective, why wait for heaven? Why can’t we experience heaven on earth? Right here, right now. If we are to be true citizens of God’s Kingdom, our obedience to Christ must touch every area of our lives. Simply confessing “Jesus is Lord” does not significantly impact the church or our too few spiritual habits.
Whether Buddhist or Christian, we must proactively spread love into every segment of society, influencing the world by bringing love and grace to all – be it through the arts, through business, through politics or through our vocations.