There is a narrative theologians know well that pastors often fear to address—a piece of the story that seems just a smidge too far to be preachable to an enlightened world. Moving from Earth to Heaven may sound odd, but it has enough logic to it that it might be heard: “We go from matter to energy.”
But the Bible understands Christians to be reunited on a new Earth with a new Heaven with the presence of God fully among us with sin and evil and death removed: “We go from Earth to Heaven, and to Earth again.” That’s hard for the brain to process. But that’s a part of the good news.
When God is done lovingly waiting for the masses to be saved, Jesus will return and the restart button will be hit. The world will return to it’s former glory (and then some) as we become all we were ever made to be. It will be both familiar and foreign. And there in that place we will see our fellow Christian once again in a light more brilliant than we could have ever imagined.
For many (including Christians), death often means knowing nothing about what’s on the other side until we get there. But with the entire Bible in view, we can actually track and resonate with much of the music that is ahead—a symphony we’ve heard once before, now alive with more detail, color, and perfection.
That is a message I need to hear preached tonight that perhaps many others I know could use as well. For today, death still glares from the shadows. But the future is not bleak. The future is not unthinkable or unimaginable. The future is a glimpse of a perfect interpretation of now, multiplied by a magnitude. And in this we can take our solace, for death does not have the last word. For to follow Christ is to go on forever.
See you then Emily.