Monday, June 20, 2011

Heaven Can Wait


This 1978 film -- starring Warren Beatty -- was a rather comedic look at
what can happen when a trip to Heaven is postponed by other things...

For some Christians -- certainly for the stereo-typical Evangelist -- Heaven
CAN'T wait; indeed, the pitch most often heard, and repeated even among those
who have no interest in Christianity -- goes something like this:

"Accept Jesus and go to Heaven!" And often the reverse is added or implied:
"Refuse Jesus and go to... well... That Other Place."

Other versions include these: "Do you know where you will go when you die?"...
"It's okay, Grandpa, Grandma is in Heaven"...

This, however, is just like saying that Newlyweds look forward to their
Honeymoon so that they can enjoy nice hotel accommodations, which is,
of course, ridiculous: Newlyweds look forward to the Honeymoon with tremendous
anticipation so that they can be togehter, so that they can
consumate their marriage vows in every sense of the word; it's meant to
be an incredibly beautiful and private and intimate time of Bonding, in body
as well as mind and spirit and soul... Sure, the hotel accommodations are a part
of that mystical, magical, joyful time, but that is a secondary condition;
clearly, the focus is Togetherness.

No wonder, then, that Scripture describes the relationship between Christ and
His Church not in terms of geography, but in terms of Relationship,
most specifically a MARRIAGE relationship.

When we die, and after we are finally and eternally PERFECTED by our Bridegroom
and presented to Him, our highest and greatest Hope is to enjoy TOGETHERNESS
with Him for all eternity, NOT primarily to co-habitate with Him in nice accommodations...

To the extent that any Christian grounds their Hope on GEOGRAPHY in the after-life,
they are in very great danger of missing the whole point of becoming a Christian
at all: The process of Transformation, from a creature beset by Sin and Self and
into a Saint, fully glorified by God, reflecting HIS Truth and Goodness and Beauty
forever, in a way that only they -- as a Unique soul created by God Himself -- can do
once Glorification (Perfection) has been accomplished.

That Transformation can -- and should! -- be going on already in the heart of every
Christian. If a Christian is single-mindedly focused on Geography in the
"sweet by-and-by", they are likely to miss out on the JOY of enjoying the first-fruits
of that Transformation process in the here-and-now...