When You Arrive in Heaven …
Rector’s Letter to the Congregation (Week of February 3, 2019)
Greetings in the wonderful name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Last week, on Wednesday, we had a high point of the week, the memorial service and funeral of our beloved friend, Masami Sakurada, commonly called Mas. The service was held at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Collins. After the service there was a reception, and then the interment at the Grandview Cemetery. The occasion was somber as well as joyful, both together.
Occasions like that bring upon us the contemplation of death. My own theory is that every human being has his/her date of death already set in heaven. The date is written in a file, and the files are arranged in chronological order. I surmise that every evening, the people who will be arriving home the next day are announced to the inhabitants of heaven. The announcement includes full name and place of abode on earth.
I imagine that when the name is so announced, the people who knew that person on earth rise up and clap loudly in near frenzy in anticipation of receiving him/her. These include perhaps parents, relatives, friends, former church members, schoolmates, acquaintances, etc…. They then begin a furor of activity to prepare for the arrival of the new member of heaven.
The moment the person breathes his/her last here on earth, the same arrives in heaven to a prolonged thunderous applause full of clapping and laughter with angels singing superlatively sweet music. Jesus appears on the scene and the new arrivals behold Him for the first time and are filled with joy unspeakable. That joy that comes upon them does not end. It is the default mode of heaven. The feasting is on a daily basis in heaven because everyday people arrive from earth. There are parties everywhere and everybody is invited to each and any.
It is normal to feel sad, and sometimes even devastated, at the loss of a loved one. However, as humans who have embraced God’s plan of redemption and have truly received Jesus into our lives, we know that we will see our loved ones in heaven with Jesus. We will share in the joy unspeakable. And that will not be for only so many years, but for years and years. Actually forever. And we will live in the perfect environment for which we were created. There will be no more putrefaction, no more sin, no more sickness, no more death. Moreover, we will put on our real bodies, beautiful and sparkling. We will shine with each other for all time. Thank you, Jesus.
Reading for this week:
[Why Does the Church Exist?]
May I come back to what I said before? This is the whole of Christianity. There’s nothing else. It is so easy to get muddled about that. It is easy to think that the Church has a lot of different objects—education, building, missions, holding services. Just as it is easy to think the State has a lot of different objects—military, political, economic, and what not.
But in a way things are much simpler than that. The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden—that is what the State is there for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time.
In the same way the Church exists for nothing else but to draw men [and women] into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether, the whole universe was created for any other purpose. It says in the Bible that the whole universe was made for Christ [Col. 1:16] and that everything is to be gathered together in Him.
[How Does One Become Part of the Plan]
I do not suppose any of us will understand how this will happen as regards the whole universe. We do not know what (if anything) lives in the parts of it that are millions of miles from this Earth. Even on this Earth we do not know how it applies to things other than men [and women]. After all, that is what you would expect. We have been shown the plan only in so far as it concerns ourselves.
What we have been told is how we can be drawn into Christ—can become part of that wonderful present which the young Prince of the universe wants to offer his Father—that present which is Himself and therefore us in Him. It is the only thing we were made for. And there are strange, exciting hints in the Bible that when we are drawn in, a great many other things in Nature will begin to come right. The bad dream will be over: it will be morning.
From Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, (First Touchstone Edition, pp.171-172)