With everything that has been swirling around the news and our church in recent days and weeks, it’s been kind of nice to spend some time dwelling on our worship topic for the next few weeks. I’ve been dreaming about heaven. Well, actually, I’ve been asking questions about heaven and rehashing some of my ongoing wonderment about this theological doctrine. For Christian believers, it may be the one doctrine that peaks everyone’s interest at some level. And the interesting reality is, we actually KNOW very little about it.
Is it an actual place? Is it a future experience or does it begin on earth? Do we find out about it when we die or will we wait until Jesus comes again to discover its glories? I’m sure you have questions as well and I would love to hear them! Especially as I plan the final sermon it will be based on questions from you. Ask me anything you have been wondering about heaven.
As I listen to people I hear different language about heaven. Some people have been brought up to believe it is a carrot dangled in front of us in order to elicit good behavior so you receive the reward. Others worry about it at the “last second” hoping if they get their act together soon enough God will ignore the rest of their life. Others see it as a welcomed respite from the very difficult day-to-day existence they find themselves living. Others don’t even believe in it- think it’s hype and mental propaganda to entice believers to Christianity. Others have assurance that they are faithful and therefore heaven will take care of itself at the right time.
We are going to look at it from a biblical and theological perspective during the next 3 Sundays at Centenary. I personally began thinking about heaven at an early age when I lost my father and grandfather before my 5th birthday. I have studied God’s promise of eternal life nearly all my life so I look forward to sharing some of those thoughts with you as we explore our beliefs about heaven.
In the mean time, I encourage to take a few minutes and just reflect on what it is you actually believe about heaven. How much of it is based on pop culture, movies, literature, your own longings, and Scriptural teaching. My own thoughts have a hodge podge collection of all of the above if I’m being honest. Because I don’t actually have any first hand experience! Join us Sunday as we continue the conversation.
Grace and Peace,
One thought on “Heaven bound or ambivalent?”
OK. Here goes. Thumbnail sketch. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I would write less, but I don’t have time.
Heaven, like many other theological constructs, is better understood as metaphor. Heaven, I think, is a term used to try to communicate something about life that cannot be adequately expressed in words. Words are critical to communication of information and to passing down tradition. But when they refer to the depth of human experience, words can provide at best a glimpse of a larger, inexpressible reality. Eternal life is better understood from the Greek word kairos, related to quality of time; rather than chronos, duration of time. The word “heaven” is an attempt to express the joy of living fully in the world, rather than an endless extension of measured, chronological time beyond the world. Heaven happens in those eternal times (kairos) when I find the grace to really be alive in the present moment. The resurrection of my soul happens when I allow the heaven of love to replace the hell of fear. Heaven is experiencing, in this physical body, and in this time and place, fullness of life.