Stranger Things: The Upside Down, The Rightside Up, and the In Between
If you’ve watched Stranger Things, you know that the characters sense another world, a parallel universe maybe, that they name the Upside Down. It’s like our world, but so much worse. No matter how much you might complain about bad things in our world, it doesn’t compare to the Upside Down: darkness, death,decay, sadness, aloneness, lostness, all the terrible adjectives you can remember. Even the entrance into that world is unpleasant: someone called it spiderweb afterbirth mucus.
I’m reading Simply Christian by N.T. Wright and he writes about John having access to heaven in Revelation. He says that when John writes that “a door stood open to heaven,” he’s saying, in effect, that “God’s sphere and ours are not far apart, and that at certain places and moments they interlock. Sometimes the boundary between them is like a thin partition, in which, to some people and at some times, a door is opened or a curtain pulled back, so the people in our dimension can see what’s going on in God’s dimension.”
If the place in Stranger Things is the Upside Down, what John sees here – God’s dimension, or heaven – is the Rightside Up. It’s the exact opposite of the Upside Down in every way – beauty, light, music, relationships, justice, harmony, peace, life, radiance and abundance – all the fabulous adjectives you can remember or imagine, even “above all that you ask or imagine.” Ephesians 3:20.
So where are we? We are in the In Between. There are elements of both dimensions here. We get glimpses of both of these other destinations while here on earth. There’s a struggle, what some people call a spiritual battle, going on all the time between the forces of these two dimensions to gain ground or establish command posts on this earth. Whenever you see beauty or justice or love or any good thing, you see glimpses of heaven in the corner of your eye.
We are here to pull that curtain back or open that door for others so they can see the Rightside Up and choose it. Because there are portals to both places that are open, and you can go there. But you don’t go right away. You stay here to help God gain ground, to live out the love so others can follow.