So, what do you think Heaven’s going to be like?
Although we don’t know very much, that hasn’t stopped many of us from dreaming and imagining what it’s going to be like. And many times, it seems, our reflections along these lines become very personal.
Heaven is the place that’s going to be like the best vacation you’ve ever been on, for example. It’s the kind of place where you’ll be able to pursue everything that you especially loved about this life, only without any limitations. People have imagined the kinds of golf courses that will be found in Heaven, or the quality of the fishing that will be available there. Perhaps in Heaven we’ll be reunited with a special pet whose loss we’ve mourned. Maybe it will be like an especially fun family reunion, a place where you can spend some time on the water, or garden without all the weeds. Your very best life, your most fulfilling life, is waiting for you there.
But as I said, we don’t know that for sure. It’s fun to imagine that it’s going to be a place where all your dreams will come true, but the Bible doesn’t exactly promise us that. I’ve said before that I wonder if we make Heaven too much about ourselves, and what we like, and what we’d prefer to do. And when we do too much of that, it’s as if we’ve forgotten about God.
Truly, Heaven is probably not going to be like the whole stereotype of standing on a cloud in robe with a harp in your hand. But it probably won’t turn out to be your own private Disney resort, either.
One of the more surprising images for Heaven that can actually be found in the Bible comes from the book of Revelation, in a reading that we’ll be sharing at church later on this month. There we’ll find Heaven being compared to a city, and, depending on your own attitude about city living, that might not seem to be such a treat. After all, cities are places where there’s more crime, where people can be insensitive and hurtful. Cities have pollution, and traffic jams, and lots of people whom you don’t know. You can be ignored or taken advantage of in the city.
But before we write that image off, maybe we should consider the city as a place for a community, a place where people live together and take care of one another. Maybe the heavenly city is a place where lives are interconnected. Maybe it’s not really going to be a place that’s all about me, but more a place that’s all about God, and all about our continuing relationships with one another.
Whatever it may be like, I’m sure it’s something to look forward to! This month we will continue to bask in the mysteries of Easter. And one of those mysteries is the promise of Heaven, which has now been guaranteed for us in the life, death and resurrection of our Savior. I know you will take pleasure in our explorations this season, and that you will join me in giving thanks to God for everything that is good.
God bless you this May!
Peace and love,