Heaven: How do you imagine it?

What is heaven like?We all have our ideas.  What are yours?

Sometimes I speak before I think.  Sometimes this happens when I’m preaching. Ordinarily I’ve got a pretty strict plan for my message, but it is not unusual for me to let something sneak in at  the last minute.

A couple of Sundays ago I opened my sermon with the question, “If heaven were sitting on clouds, wearing white robes and wings and playing harps, would you want to go?”

I expected no one to respond affirmatively.  A couple of people did.

I have not been able to get that question out of my mind since, or that some replied they would really enjoy that image.

A Kevin Harry Latz, a good friend of mine from college, imagined aloud one day that heaven would have a lot of touch football and Mrs. Johnson’s doughnuts. Mrs. Johnson’s was a bakery in Austin that we frequented. Krispy Kreme has come and gone in Waco, and I still have yet to meet a doughnut that can rival Mrs. Johnson’s.

I soon realized the truth behind Kevin’s vision was that heaven, or what draws us heaven-ward, is about the things in life that bring us joy.

Clouds, wings, halos, and harps dont’ do that for me.  Do they for you?

4 thoughts on “Heaven: How do you imagine it?

  1. I think we have a few difficulties when we think about this subject.
    1. Rather than starting with the Christian tradition we tend to start with the modern American tradition. The bible and other texts (and images and practices) that make up the former, are replaced by the imagery of movies and cartoons.
    2. Our current talk of heaven tends to be an abstraction from the direction of our current experience. In this particular abstraction, we take the best, subtract the worst, and stretch it to eternity. Apart from theology, science fiction and fantasy literature has contributed to dismantling this approach.
    3. The NT approach to heaven is centered on God. God, though mostly undescribed, is the center of John’s vision in Revelation 4 & 5.
    4. While heaven figures in the NT picture of human eternity, the promise is for resurrection. Inasmuch as a resurrection implies a body, there might be reason to think of donuts & football.
    5. The ethics implied in an eternal infatuation with that which infatuates us now is one that appears to leave little if any place for an evaluation or transformation of our desires, of what we love. Heaven – or eternity – just gives us more of what we now love and value, with no comment as to whether that love or valuation is good thing. The autonomous individual, not God, is lord.

    • I think I get your point: I also don’t think God would have a problem with touch football our donuts.

      At the same time, it seems clear to me that even if football and donuts had a place in heaven, thinking heaven is primarily about such is extremely misguided.

      I completely agree with you that the NY focus is on resurrection and God, not heaven. But “do I get to go to heaven” is a question I hear a LOT.

  2. I very much enjoyed the book entitled “Sum”. The author has 40 reflections on the afterlife and all of them are creative and impressive. Some of the reflections have room for a God, and some do not. Some are hope filled, some are not. But it is great to read.

    Thanks for the post.

    The afterlife for me is best summed up in the book with the essay titled, “Ineffable”.

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