At the beginning of the worship service every Sunday, we repeat words that have been used in Christian worship since the first centuries of the Church, the Latin is Sursum Corda, and it means “Lift up your hearts” and the congregation responds, “we lift them up to the Lord.” The reason for this is that the Bible teaches that Christian worship takes place in Heaven. If you wanted to make a modern paraphrase of the sursum corda, the pastor might say, “we’re going to heaven,” and the congregation might answer, “we’re going there now.”
We see this most clearly in Hebrews where it says, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect” (Heb. 12:22-23). We have not come to an earthly mountain or an earthly temple. We have to a heavenly mountain and a heavenly temple because we are meeting with Jesus, and Jesus is seated at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven.
What does this mean? Part of what it means is that for those who are in Christ, you are closer to what you are becoming here than anywhere else in your life. You are closer to your true self, you are more like what you were always meant to be, here, gathered together with your people, gathered before your Lord. Isn’t that what heaven is? Finally seeing Jesus face to face and becoming who we were made to be, without any sin, fully united with all our people?
When we gather here, by faith, lifting our hearts up to Jesus, the God of the Living draws near – or better, the God of the Living draws us near to Himself and all who are in Him. And we glimpse in psalms and prayers and water and wine and word and blessing and lots of squirming people (our people), heaven itself, reality itself, and little by little, as we see Him as He really is, we are becoming what we really are. And we are sent back into the world, transformed a little more into that glory, until the earth is full of the glory of the Lord.