I attend a Lutheran church. If you aren't familiar with Lutherans, they can be a bit serious. (Don't worry.....we tease ourselves often about this!) Our church offers 3 types of services- Traditional, Celebration, and Impact. Code words: hymns with an organ, contemporary music with a BAND, and those youngsters with a ROCK BAND! Our family worships at the Celebration. We can't get too "wild"- you know....a little hand clapping during songs and hand raising only waist high! My husband often elbows me when I exceed the limit- clapping before the singers begin clapping or hands raised a little too high....
Now, I have had the opportunity to visit many churches where dancing in the isle is common, singing and praying in tongues is done during the service, and hands raised above the head is the "norm," so I know many of you reading this may be surprised when I share this story with you. I just wanted to paint a picture of "normal" worship at our church. I am so thankful there are many choices and opportunities for Christians to worship God in ways they feel comfortable- from "traditional" to speaking in tongues, and everything "in between." I can't wait to worship God in Heaven when all inhibitions will be stripped away and all will praise Him totally, completely, without distraction! Which brings me to the question...
What WILL Heaven be like?
Our church just finished a sermon series on The Shack, a great (fictional) book about developing a real relationship with God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Because the main character in the story has lost a young daughter, the book also delves into the topic of "heaven" and what we can experience there. So....last Sunday, the sermon focused on what we can expect in Heaven.
The message was good and included all of the "right" scripture verses. We listened as the Apostle John shared his vision of heaven from the book of Revelation. Our pastor also read beautiful illustrations from the book, "The Shack." But, what God showed me during that service is that Heaven is so much MORE....and if we could ever grasp it, we would do a WHOLE lot more REJOICING!
During the music, a young boy in the front row danced jubilantly, clapping his hands and singing. He was ENJOYING his worship! He turned circles. He jumped up. He clapped his hands. He got closer and closer to the singers! Just when his mom pulled him back to "his spot", his younger brother began dancing as well. She was doing her best to keep both boys corralled, but they were having a BLAST!
As I pondered all of this later, I realized that THIS is what Heaven will be like! I know the sweet mom was probably felt embarrassed and may have worried what others were thinking. But, I know my heart burst at the beautiful sight of these little guys totally UNAWARE of anyone else around them- simply worshipping God.
And I thought, this the is perfect illustration of Heaven!
Not caring about "appearances". Just glorifying and magnifying the One who is truly worthy of all worship and praise. Dancing and singing and turning circles to the One we LOVE!
If we could ever get a handle of our glorious inheritance in Heaven, then we, too would be DANCING in the aisles! We would be clapping our hands! We would be turning circles and singing at the top of our lungs.
These two little guys, not even realizing it, just answered the pastor's question..."What is Heaven like?"
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade- kept in heaven for you.....in this you greatly rejoice. 1Peter 1:3-6
Father God, may I never take for granted the incredible, glorious inheritance You have in store for me. May the prayer of my heart always be "Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand days elsewhere." Give me eternal eyes. I love You, Lord. Forgive me for the times I have not worshipped You the way You deserve because I was distracted, embarrassed, or selfish. Help me to give You all that I am. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.