Our cover picture for this issue is a picture I took in one of my favorite places. It is a hideaway in Canada over 150 miles from the nearest city. The blue of the water, the color of the woods, the sounds of loons and gulls, the cool temperatures, the incredible beauty of the stars, the sight of moose, wolves, bear, beaver, and the joy of being in a canoe with no one else around refresh my spirit and make me forget the pressure and stress of my teaching and lecturing. As far as I am concerned, this is as close to heaven as it gets!
My wife does not see it that way. She sees the cold wind, the mosquitoes, the outdoor toilet, the cold water, the wood stove, the ice chest, the lack of electricity, the isolation without even a phone, the fact that there is no mall within driving distance, etc., as negatives that far outshadow the natural beauty she admits is there.
A comparison like this is a tremendous way to see the beauty of the Church and a united faith in God. Spiritual things are not affected by insects, temperatures, and inconvenience. No matter what our likes and dislikes, we can find common ground in the spiritual. When Paul said, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female..." (Galatians 3:28), he stated a unity principle that resonates today as the solution to much of man's ills. Union in Christ does not depend upon race, sex, nationality, economics, politics, education, IQ, social status, or even what we have done. We may find things that seem to be almost heaven here on earth, but the real thing will be so much better that any physical comparison does violence to it.
--John N. Clayton