I enjoyed the film The Matrix (the original not the sequels). The concept that reality is not what we think it is appeals to me. The TV series, Stranger Things and other science fiction shows also delve into the possibility of alternative or parallel realities. The writers want us to consider the feasibility of there being more to this world than meets the eye.
I believe there is an element of truth to these fictions. I completely agree there is a reality beyond what we experience day to day but I think these shows are missing something. Of the shows I’ve seen, without exception, the alternative reality to the one in which we live is ugly; the other side is ugly, the upside-down is ugly, the physical world of the red pill is ugly.
This is where I break rank with these shows. I believe there is a reality all around us which we can’t see, but I also believe it is better than the one in which we live on this temporal plane. I believe the Kingdom of Heaven is all around us, here and now, but we just can’t quite see it. Maybe it’s time shifted, or phase shifted or covered with a veil. Maybe we catch a glimpse of it just out of the corner of our eye. However it is hidden, I know it is there and the closer we draw to God, the more it is revealed to us.
This real ‘other side’ is shown to us within the scriptures. In the presence of three of his disciples, Peter, James and John, Christ conversed with Elijah and Moses, surrounded by the blinding glory of the Kingdom of Heaven, as a voice said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him”. Afterwards, Christ told his disciples not to say anything about what they had seen until after his resurrection. Only then would it make sense.
In fact, it wasn’t until after Christ’s resurrection that the disciples truly knew who Christ was. That was when the veil of this world was torn from their eyes and they were able to fully understand the scriptures. It was only then they could grasp the full meaning of Christ’s Transfiguration; the Son of God revealing Himself as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, in all His glory, fully illuminated and fully human, demonstrating to His apostles what they, and by extension we, could become, human beings made in the image and likeness of God.
Even while they walked with Him, the disciples were blind to His true nature despite catching glimpses of the Kingdom all around them. There was a time when Christ was asked when the Kingdom of God would come and He told the questioner to stop chasing after signs because “the Kingdom of God is among you.”
When the disciples saw Christ walking on the water towards them through the wind and the waves, Peter was the only one who caught a glimpse of reality and leapt out of the boat to walk towards Christ. And it worked, until he took his eyes off of Christ and became overwhelmed by the violence of the physical world around him.
And therein lies my inability to see the Kingdom of Heaven, taking my eyes off of Christ.
I have in my library a book of 3D images, pictures which look like two dimensional abstract art until I stare at them in a certain way. Only then I am able to perceive a hidden three dimensional image. But as soon as I blink or look away, the 3D image disappears and the page is, once again, a flat abstract mess of colours with little meaning. If I want to continue to see the 3D image, I have to keep staring at the paper.
If I want to see the Kingdom of Heaven all around me, then I have to keep my eyes on Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life of the Kingdom. He is the only way to make sense of, and navigate through, this temporal plane of existence since He is the light illuminating all of reality.