Luke 17:20-21: Heaven is between us


By Hal Green
Pondering Prayer

Hal Green

A great spiritual issue, right after “Where is God?,” is “Where is the kingdom of God?” This exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees addresses that question:

“Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you’” (Luke 17:20-21).

It is significant that the Greek preposition Jesus used to indicate the place of God’s kingdom, (entos), means both “within” and also “among” or “between.” Both. Not one without the other. God’s kingdom, which includes heaven itself, is not only “there” and “then” but it is also “here” and somehow, “now.”


A somewhat parallel passage is Matthew 18:20, where Jesus says: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Most significantly, the Greek word used for “among” in this verse is meso, which also means “in the midst of,” or “between.” This signifies that what is between us is as real and important as what is within us. That is, the Holy Spirit not only enters into us but, just as significantly, comes to move between us, invisibly gathering us together in God’s silent kingdom.

Heaven is between us. If you do not get that, you do not get heaven. One day you will get heaven, hopefully while you are still here, to enjoy and prepare for the greater heaven, where nothing will stop the flow of love between you and God and those of God.

Look for heaven inside you, you will not see or sense it. Look for heaven beyond you, you will come up short, as there is no place to point at something beyond life’s rainbows.

But fall in love with your other, or better still: fall in love with God, beginning with God’s beauty of sight and sound, nature and music, grandeur and glory, and you will connect with currents not of this place. But which will come across from the great Otherness and like a magnetic field, will hold you safe in Love’s sacred space.

Then you will know and know you know that whatever else it may be, heaven is between you and God, and those of God. And once that field of Spirit has been entered, and has embraced you, it will slowly transform what is within and beyond you.

Heaven is that final abode where what is between, within and beyond you will attain Love’s blissful union.

How would it affect your life if you sensed heaven between you and your loved ones? And right here and now, not just there and then? Surely you would grasp and be grasped by, the sacredness of the present moment. Pray for that grasping now, while you still have time to fully love and be loved by God and humanity.

(Hal Green, Ph.D., is author of Pray This Way to Connect with God. You can contact him at

Support The Catholic Messenger’s mission to inform, educate and inspire the faithful of the Diocese of Davenport – and beyond! Subscribe to the print and/or e-edition, or make a one-time donation, today!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *