Thursday, June 9, 2016
Heaven at Shattuck Grove and Swedes
"If you had to choose only one musician or musical group for listening pleasure forever, who would you pick?"
As if anybody knows for sure, people are always asking what heaven is like.
Still just scratching the surface of my relationship with God through Jesus by the book, there are hints.
Jesus calls it paradise.
The revelator says it's the pure and perfect place of personal peace where there's no more pain or suffering or tears or mourning or death or Hillary or Donald or...
Actually, I added the last two in the last sentence-paragraph because it sounds, uh, heavenly.
But, really, I can't wrap my brain around paradise or pure and perfect and things so uncommon to humanity no matter what Meatloaf sang about in 1977 like a Bat Out of Hell; though I think Meatloaf remains a lot closer to getting it than most churches, professors, and pastors that I've hung around.
From what I've read in the Bible and heard from people who are a lot more intimate with God than me, heaven sounds, uh, heavenly.
Words are limiting.
Languages, especially English, are notoriously imprecise.
Heaven's pleasures are purported to be beyond the limitations of language.
Better than our best imaginings.
I had two recent experiences that seemed, uh, heavenly; and because heaven is purported to be indescribably better than anything known existentially, I'm betting my soul by grace through faith in Jesus that it's really, really, really beyond the best of my imaginings.
I was asked to speak at the Shattuck Grove Memorial Day Service on June 5.
Rather anal about arriving for such things long before the scheduled starting time - Have you ever noticed some people think it's rude to be on time? - I got to the cemetery about 40 minutes before I was supposed to open the service with a prayer.
Warm gentle yet strikingly strong wind; and I remembered how the Hebrew and Greek words for wind are often used for the Spirit of God.
A feeling of overwhelming peace and calm and serenity came over me.
It felt, uh, heavenly.
Then I looked at the clouds and they seemed to turn into faces of all of those folks who were to be remembered during the service; and the eternity of the predeceased resurrected in my soul.
I amended my prepared remarks.
Everybody seemed warmed...strangely...spiritually...supernaturally.
It was, uh, heavenly.
I visited a woman at Swedish American Hospital early on June 9.
She was recovering from the previous day's surgery.
A few years younger than my mom, she was very helpful in the transitional years of my call to the corner of Lincoln and Main if you know what I mean; and if you don't, you wouldn't get it or want to get it anyway.
Candidly, while we share love for Jesus and love each other profoundly, we are really, really, really different when it comes to politics; and I don't want to spoil this recollection by elaborating.
Anyway, the room was filled with nurses and a doctor; and as they huddled, I prayed with her.
Crouching over to hug her and whisper the prayer into her ear, she held on to me after the amen and whispered back, "I love you, Bob, and you are the best pastor that I've ever had."
It has nothing to do with someone saying something nice to me but everything to do with someone loving another person with unreserved and unedited and uninhibited and lavish affirmation/affection despite some very human differences.
That's a big part of what heaven is going to be like.
Heaven is where differences and distances and disaffections and divorces and other humanly damning realities disappear.
There's no place for that kinda...in heaven.
I guess that's why Jesus encouraged the aspirational prayer that it may be on earth as it is in heaven.
For now, all we have are hints.
Praise God for the hints!
Blessings and Love!