On occasion I’ve been at local shops and overheard a visitor say, “Just another perfect day in Paradise!” I smile because it does seem like Paradise, this beautiful island set in a turquoise sea, ringed with white sand beaches, palm trees, and tall pines. But if this is Paradise, it isn’t the original Paradise before Adam and Eve sinned. There are problems on the island too—relationships that shatter, sickness and death, drownings and child abuse, loneliness and alienation. Paradise isn’t a geographical entity; it is a state of grace and proximity to God that acknowledges the presence of sin, but also acknowledges God’s victory over forces of evil. I thank you, Lord, for this beautiful island, but even more than that I thank you for the place you’ve prepared for me in the eternal Paradise. Until I taste that glory, make my life here on the island a fit preparation for eternal life with you. Amen.