Monday, November 09, 2015

A Vacation in Heaven?

Background — I have invited a few friends from across the country to join me (and each other) in reading Randy Alcorn’s masterful study, HEAVEN, and then engaging in some dialogue about what we’re reading and thinking about it. Even though I've re-read the book a few times, I'm again taking notes and praying through key points...and there are a gang of those! Previous posts can be found by scrolling down through the blog.

A Vacation in Heaven? Well, not exactly.  But among the items on the agenda of our working vacation in Branson was catching up on my reading of Randy Alcorn’s magnificent study, Heaven.  My reading there was complemented by my prayer walks and my meditations on Psalm 19 and the sermon from the last two Sundays.  So, for my friends who have been on the same reading course with me these last few weeks, please know that some of the observations I’ll make below come a combination of these sources.

* Abraham Kuyper’s quote at the start of Chapter 14 was really thrilling.  “There is not one inch in the entire area of our human life about which Christ Who is so Sovereign of all does not cry out, ‘Mine.’”  I’ve been thinking of this a lot, especially related to His Lordship over my sanctification – continually, purposefully inviting Jesus into every area of my life.  That includes the darkened corners, the fears and failures, my plans and routines, my attempt to find significance, my worship, my relationships, the “presumptuous sins” (Psalm 19:13) which can so easily dominate one's life, and so on.

* I love thinking about my bodily resurrection…and the resurrection of sin-scarred creation.  I also love thinking about the physical resurrection of my loved ones and friends who have already tasted death.  Not only will I will see them again, I will embrace them again.  And I will climb mountains and swim mountain streams and play baseball with them too.  The weakness and brokenness of these present bodies will be completely transformed…forever.

* I’m starting to use Isaiah 62 in my prayers often.

* Reading Chapter 15, Randy’s fidelity to the biblical narratives (instead of old prejudices, common errors and misconceptions, Christoplatonic influences, bad art, etc.) is so revealing.  And incredibly refreshing.

* The exhortation that anticipating heaven is something for all believers (rather than only the old, sick, troubled, or bored) is so desperately needed for healthy, joyful, productive living now.  Very good stuff.

* Also, the connection of home to heaven is something that has thrilled me deeply ever since my conversion to Christianity in 1970.  I love the quotes from Lewis and GKC towards the end of Chapter 16.  But I would suggest an extra assignment to really drive this home; namely, read Chesterton’s marvelous poem, “The House of Christmas.”

* And my last item from Section 5?  Randy’s quote, “The God Who commends hospitality will not be outdone in His hospitality to us.”