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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Trip to Heaven

Henry & Helen, friends and long time members of the church die and go heaven. They comment to one another as they walk toward the pearly gates, “Well, it was about time! Things were getting so bad, I just don’t know if I could have held out much longer. It sure is nice to be able to walk without pain.” “You can say that again!” replied the other. They get to the gate and sure enough Peter is waiting to welcome them in.


“Thank you, Peter, we’re so excited to be here! We’ve heard so much about the place. I can hardly wait to have David sing one of my favorite psalms. Especially to that tune of…”

“That’s right,” broke in the other. “I’ve always been kind of a history buff and would love to talk to Abraham, Moses, Joshua and get the real story, you know, the story behind the story.”

Peter’s puzzled face doesn’t seem to register.

“When can we check into our Mansions? I think I want the downstairs sky blue, and a green room that open up to a backyard garden. There are gardens here are there? I mean, didn’t God create the Garden of Eden? Surely He’s got something up here like that!”

Before Peter can answer, the other begins his part.

“That sounds great! I would like something like that myself! Maybe we could get ours close by, seems like there’s plenty of space around here. And what about clouds and personal angels? I always thought I had one when I was living on the earth, now I’d like to see mine for myself, just in case I need something. Do we get to choose our angels or are they assigned?.......

Just then, John and Mary, another couple approaches, and the first voices of the first fade away. The scene is different somehow, for now it seems that they are in the city of God itself. A voice from the throne is heard like a mighty waterfall, but yet as gentle as a summer breeze: “Well done, my good and faithful servants…”

The couple seem totally overwhelmed and speechless. As they turned toward the light and the voice that was coming from the throne they were completely struck with awe. They gasp, “Oh the majesty, oh the glory of it all!” Without hesitation they fall to their knees, hands lifted in worship. Filled with inexpressible joy, they cry out loud: “Oh Lord God! You are worthy, You were before all time, You created the heavens and the earth, You provided the way that we might know You, Kings of kings and Lord of lords! By Your love and mercy and grace You saved us, redeemed us; we aren’t worthy, Oh Lord!"

Yes, there are mansions, yes there is the city with its gates of pearl and streets of gold, and yes, there are the saints from ages past, but their focus in heaven was the worship of the Lamb that was slain.


Obviously, no ones knows what everything is like in heaven, but we do know a few things. The description of heaven in the first scene perhaps describes how some people understand worship and heaven is the culmination of all the things they had desired for themselves. It is all about what they like, what makes them feel good, warm and fuzzy. Most likely these would think that heaven should be just an extension of the worship they had on earth, fully centered around themselves.

As we read the book of Revelation, the picture seems to fit closer to the second scene. John gets to peek into what’s going on, and it isn’t shopping for the mansion with the best location. The city is there in all its splendor, but the center and focus of everything is He that is on the throne. The is an overwhelming speechless awesomeness that overtakes all that enter, for God is there.

Is it possible that as we pray the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray: “Our Father, hallowed by Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” we might need to apply that to our worship as well? Allow this paraphrase to help capture the idea and application: “O holy Father, our Lord and God, You, Your very name is Holy. Rule over us here and may what is done in heaven be done here on earth as well!” Have we been praying for something all this time and not really understanding that for which we were asking?

Perhaps how we think about worship would change if we were to begin with the end and then work backwards. What if our worship on Sundays were modeled after the worship in heaven? Somehow, I can’t imagine getting to heaven and walking up to Jesus and saying, “Could I go over there? I think the angels sing better.” The worship in heaven is not about me, my likes and dislikes, the worship of heaven and but one center. The focus of worship in heaven is clear; God and God alone. Yes, there are streets of gold, and gates of pearl, but what makes heaven the place it is, is God. We dare not be like the little child who looks forward to his father’s return from a trip because of the gift he will be given more than seeing his father, himself.

Heaven will not be a place where we finally get what we always wanted, but the place where our wants will finally be as God desired. The central focus of heaven is the Lamb of God on His throne, not my wishes fulfilled.

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