This week a beautiful friend shrugged off her earthly cloth, that cancer-ridden flesh which could no longer contain the life and the light that we saw shining from her eyes, eyes that sometimes held tears but always held faith, and she went home for eternity.
Her parting lead my mind back to the well-worn path my thoughts have often travelled between here and heaven. I pictured her laughing face telling me how good it is to be totally home, totally healed, totally in love and in unity with the the Light she had carried in her heart even when life seemed fragile.
I wondered at how the curtain between the here and the beyond is so tangibly intangible, sometimes thin as a veil of chiffon, at times heavy as damask curtains. And so I find myself searching for thin places, where the rain of heaven trickles down to earth in the tears that glitter my face as heart inclines towards home.
Then one evening I found myself in an arena usually reserved for pop stars and ballgames, but this time the songs sung in unison spoke of eternity.
What does it sound like when 20,000 voices swell in songs of praise and reverence to the One who loved them enough to create them?
It sounds like a waterfall of togetherness.
It is the warmth of forever family, the smile of a divine Father, the joy of perfect brotherhood.
It is a whirlwind of light, a mighty chorus.
It is the heralds trumpeting the arrival of the anointed One, whose oily footprints have left a mark that won’t ever wash out of our hearts, through scars that won’t ever leave His hands.
It’s an ancient song that sings of the future of forever.
It is grace. It is safe. It is peace sung through a megaphone loud enough to reach even the hardest of hearts.
It is the overflow of patience and sacrifice, of truth and beauty, and it’s the simultaneous expression of and response to the purest and highest of loves, the unconditional, come-as-you-are type of love that leaves you forever transformed by its touch.
The message that night was an invitation to dream again - to believe in the overwhelming goodness of God which overflowed in a monumental sacrifice big enough to bridge the gap between earth and heaven.
It was a dare to have the courage to believe for more. A challenge to not limit God with our possibility-bound expectations, the ones which are really just shadows of our previous experiences rather than stretches into the territory where miracles meet those brave enough to receive them. It was a reminder that greater days are before us than those that are behind. It was a rejoinder to the “yeah but”s and the “oh well”s which inevitably cloud our hope as life stacks day upon day and weeks upon years - a reminder that disappointment’s antidote is hope, and hope’s sustenance is faith.
The arena rang with the message “there is more - and will you dare to believe it?” And as voices swelled in song, and tears crept into eyes, and knees hit the ground, I think we dared again to dream greatly, to hope bravely, and to dig deep enough to aim high once more.
And in that moment, as tears kissed the earth, surely hearts touched heaven and heaven touched earth.
Hillsong Conference is Australia’s largest annual conference, held at Sydney’s Olympic Park. Night sessions start at 6pm and are open to the public.
For more information, visit https://hillsong.com/conference/sydney/
Grace Mathew is a Press Service International young writer from Sydney, whose been writing for Christian Today for many years.