Pastoral Reflection 6.7.15

Babies playing harps or not?

What comes to mind when you hear someone mention, “heaven?” Do you think about fat babies with wings flying from cloud-to-cloud while playing harps? Does it make you think of an eternal church service where we sit in pews, sing hymns, and listen to sermons forever? If either of those images comes to your mind, you are probably not excited about heaven and for good reason.

The good news is those images look very little like the picture of heaven we receive in Scripture. In fact, what we see in Scripture is something that every human longs for (even if they don’t admit it)… a new earth where there is no fear, no death, no brokenness, no disease, no famine, no injustice, and no separation between humanity and God. Quite simply put, it is like life on earth but without anything that exists because of humanity’s sin and rebellion against our Creator.

Here is how the apostle John describes it when God gave him a vision of it:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Revelation 21:1-5; 22:3-5

That sounds like an amazing city to live in, right? Knowing God perfectly and enjoying life together with him is the true longing of every human soul. Whenever we experience the brokenness of this world, whether it’s our own sin, a friend with cancer, or a flood that takes lives, we should long more for the new heavens and new earth where God dwells and none of those things happen.

Waiting with you,

Pastor Bland