Saturday, 20 February 2010

stairway to heaven

stairway to heaven staircase in methodist church house london

there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven!” Philippians 3:20

Some dodgy poetic reflections on the Epistle set for the second Sunday in Lent.

Heaven: a dirty word, a nonsense word, a no-no word, a brand turn-off of a word. Become gibberish, heaven freights no meaning now along the shiny tracks of our intellect, yet conveys the deadweight of cultural absurdity with ease. Is heaven best shunted out of sight and left uncoupled in the rusting sidings of belief?

Heaven: looking up the sky is empty of divine intimation, even the clouds, once proud portents of presence, are agnostic now. Rainbows are merely physics, lightning simply discharges of electricity not personally tagged volts of retribution from a displeased God; drought and flood climatological facts, never punishment for moral misdemeanours from an aggrieved deity.

Heaven: hardly a here and now word, more a thee and thou word lost from common speech, a sterile dogma, an indulgence which sensible folk decline without thinking.

And yet this is our homeland, our commonwealth, our community, and we are its citizens. Where shall we find our stairway to heaven now? Do our uprising steps lead anywhere?

Heaven: we have spent too long with a crick in the neck, all this looking up makes for a disabling spiritual posture. Looking down is a better viewpoint, a gospel perspective, down down deeper and down into the status quo realities of futile dreams and hurting lives. Heaven becomes real at ground level. Out of sight, in the basement where the trash is kept, is where love intends to sanctify. Heaven: God’s now response, down to earth, here, in which we glimpse eternity.

It looks like Jesus.

Photo: Main stairwell in Methodist Church House, London

Sally has written a superb poem based on this post.


  1. AMEN! It IS JESUS! In the everyday places, in the basement where the trash is kept -- NOT in the hoity toity penthouse lofts or palacial abodes of the rich and famous -- but down where REALITY BITES...where the hurt, the muddied, the torn up, the soiled, the needy, the hungry and thirsty...where all are weighed down with heavy burdens...there we meet JESUS -- ready to receive HIS gift -- Himself.

  2. I love this approach. The Hebrews, when trying to get across something deep and profound, didn't use treatises and systematic theologies but poetry, image, story. And questions. And hope.

    Keep writing, keep hoping.


  3. Thanks to rln! Sally and Kevin for your appreciative and most welcome comments.

  4. Dear Dave Perry,

    I would like to send you a private message but do not know how to do it.

    My research on the web lead me on your blog. My eyes were attracted by the beauty of this endless staircase. I'm not from London but I come often visiting a friend here. Would you give a permission to take a picture of this incrdible staircase next time I come to London ?

    My best regards,