Pulse of Spirit

Shall We Gather at Heaven’s Portal?

David Karchere

As you read this week’s Pulse of Spirit, I invite you to gather with me and with all our readers at heaven’s portal and feel the nearness of Divine Presence.

From this place, we allow Divine Presence to penetrate our human experience. As it does, there is an outpouring of Holy Spirit—an outpouring of the Light of understanding and the warmth of Love. We see what is happening in human experience as the Light of consciousness shines. And being seen, it is changed. 

And what do we see?

It is easy to witness how, generally speaking, human sight is filtered. So the person does not feel the nearness of Divine Presence or the nearness of Love. They don’t experience the presence of home.

They can’t see accurately what is happening in their own experience or in the world around them. So they see a slanted view of reality with their bias and prejudice. They see with an orientation that does not see from above the events of their world but from a place within it, embedded in the experience and quite possibly suffering from it, experiencing themselves as a victim of circumstance.

All of that creates a filter. And as long as that filter is present, nothing is seen for what it is. A person doesn’t see other human beings for who they are. They don’t see the truth of what is transpiring in the world. And they do not see the glory of God revealed on earth through the Creation and revealed through human beings to whatever degree it is. As long as that filter is at work, you could talk to someone about what is true until you are blue in the face, and they still cannot see.

What would you say that filter is? If I were to put a name on it, I would say it is self-obsession. The person sees the world from their individual standpoint. They are one seven-billionth of humanity, which they call “me.” They see the world from the perspective of their concern for “me.” From that perspective, the world looks a certain way. Looking at all people globally, it looks seven billion ways. It is a world of separation.

Another way to name what is going on is that there is distinctiveness over oneness. A person starts with the individuality of who they are and what makes them different. They claim that as their life experience and then wonder why they do not experience harmony with other people. They are working it backward, aren’t they? If you start with an obsession with your distinctiveness and individuality and then try to find commonality, it does not happen.

Only the person who is willing to abandon their self-obsession and appreciate the oneness of who we are as humankind… Only the person who knows we are all part of one thing with one common source, one common origin… Only the person who sees that Love is always the same, no matter who it comes through, that Love is Love… Only a person who sees our common nobility and that every human being has been kissed by the Queen of Love… Only when a person opens their eyes to the wonder of the rainbow of how we are all made and who we all are can they then turn to themselves and appreciate that they are part of that rainbow.

I am unique and special, and I have a gift to give to the whole. I am not a self-obsessed individual somehow seeking to make something happen beyond myself, trying to find Love, commonality, and harmony. No, I am Love. I am what makes us one. And I express that in my life.

From that place, and only from that place, do we have the opportunity to penetrate the human experience with Love and with the Light of understanding, so that we see what is really going on. When we do, we bring the government of Divine Presence, the natural authority of our sovereignty as a human being, which is the sovereignty of Love.

At that point, emotional intelligence begins to kick in. We begin to see what is happening in the human heart, starting with our own. We begin to have a confession of the heart, admitting what is happening in our own heart, confessing it to ourselves, and revealing it to the Divine. It may help to confess it to each other once in a while. But most importantly, we reveal to ourselves all that we feel as a human being. It is all exposed to the Light of day. And in the Light of day, from the standpoint of the oneness that we know, we see it for what it is and let it be, knowing that it is changed just because we have seen it. It is over.

Love is here. I am here as Love, in my human experience, every last bit of it. No stone is left unturned.

Love is penetrating this human heart. And so, Love penetrates the human heart because I am not obsessed with the “me” of it.

And we find out that we are all not too different. Yes, we have our cultures, genders, skin color, age, and generation. Yes, there is something unique about us when the One Love comes through. But the fundamental factors are the same. But that does not make us cookie-cutter versions of each other. It’s just that God was using the same paint set when he created us all—a rainbow of colors, the rainbow of all the spirits of the One Spirit, blended together uniquely in each of us.

We have the opportunity to gather at heaven’s portal. That is where we belong as human beings. We do not belong wandering over the face of the Earth and walking up and down in it. We belong at heaven’s portal.

Shall we gather at heaven’s portal? In this place, we know the heavenly home. The spirit of home comes into us, and we embrace this world with the spirit of home. We invite the world home.

We penetrate this world with Love, and Love transforms it. We penetrate this world with Light, and Light transforms it. We call the world home.

The Love and Light of any individual are powerful, as I am sure we would each attest. And yet it is, of itself, woefully inadequate to transform all humankind. It can assist another person to come to heaven’s portal. And where there is a gathering at the portal, there is a sufficient aperture to allow an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that reverberates through all human consciousness.

So, shall we gather at heaven’s portal today? Here, the entire human experience is fulfilled, every last bit of it. Every hope, every dream, every aspiration finds its true fulfillment here. No matter how seemingly small or large, petty or significant, all dimensions of the human experience are fulfilled in the portal. And so we say, Come home to the portal. Experience your fulfillment here.

The human experience is fulfilled in the processes of Creation. It is fulfilled from the flow out of heaven in and through ourselves, through the portal. It is fulfilled by what returns to the portal. As we ourselves return to the portal, we allow all that is ascending out of the world to return to this place. We allow it to come home.

All of the gifts of the world are brought here, lifted up in sacred sacrifice, not to be slaughtered but to ascend here. We bring it all. We give it all, no longer clinging to it in self-obsession but lifting it up to the One.

The traditional gospel hymn Shall We Gather at the River? was written by Brooklyn minister Robert Lowry in 1864. It is an American favorite, recorded by numerous choirs and popular recording artists, such as Burl Ives and Willie Nelson.

In the original lyrics, you might imagine that the song refers to the hereafter—going to heaven after you pop your clogs. But that is not how I hear it. To me, the words of the song celebrate the opportunity we have right now to gather at the river. I see the river as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit we experience as we stand in heaven’s portal. So to ask, Shall we gather at the river? is to ask Shall we gather at heaven’s portal?  

For a new creativity to transpire in human life, perhaps we need to aspire to have that experience sometime in the future. But at some point, we must know it now, or tomorrow never comes. With that in mind, I have rewritten the lyrics of this beloved hymn in the affirmative and present tense.

Yes, we are gathering at the river
Where bright angel feet have trod
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God 

Yes, we are gathering at the river

The beautiful, the beautiful river
We are gathering with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God
 

We have reached the shining river
Our pilgrimage has ceased
Our happy hearts are quivering
With the melody of peace
 

Yes, we are gathering at the river
The beautiful, the beautiful river
We are gathering with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God

Thank you for gathering at the river with me today. Thank you for gathering at heaven’s portal.

2 thoughts on “Shall We Gather at Heaven’s Portal?

  1. Removing our filters is one of the jobs of the Now in our existence on this planet at this time – Thank you David – beautiful!

  2. I find myself at this place; this portal. It is a space I cannot describe but I rest there amid great disturbances in the world.

    I am aware of much trauma. That which may be ascribed to the narcissistic “me” may yet hold a latent vulnerability of experiences caught and held in the structures of the brain and body, like frozen water; it’s ice! Those also challenged with self-obsession or self-loathing must work towards compassion for themselves. To make progress, memory must be let go of and a world of potential welcomed.

    The trappings of a world according to “me” operate in a narrow filter of the acutely personalized experience of one’s “likes” and “dislikes” in a narrow and distorted view of the world. From such a perspective, there is little sense of anyone else and the possibility to empathize or stand in someone else’s shoes or to establish commonality.

    I am wondering if the Ukrania War is largely about the spat between Putin and Zelensky who do not see the magnitude of their grievances – should not the numbers of dead lie on their conscience? Perhaps people, for some, are just pawns on the chessboard, and it’s all about the game.

    Let LOVE prevail. Open the gateway to a sustainable life here and now for us all. The answer is not just “blowing in the wind” (Bob Dylan). The answer is, be it and do it.

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