• Meditations – The Great Conversation

    Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. – 1 John 3:2

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    Paradise by Dante Alighieri, illustration by Gustave Dore

    There is a common stereotype of life in the hereafter which describes it as, to be blunt, a great bore.  ‘Sitting among the clouds strumming harps’ is the common dismissal that is used.  This characterization is the result of a great lack of imagination.  Just as most of us have trouble imagining the negative consequences of our actions, we also have trouble imagining the positive: God, the resurrection, and the great conversation within the community and communion of saints.

    Imagining God, of course, is the hardest of the three.  We do know from multiple testimonies that being in God’s presence grants a sense of joy, peace, and wellbeing that cannot be approached, let alone matched or exceeded, by any human substitute.

    Imagining the resurrection is a bit easier, thanks to the accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and its aftermath in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, and the early theology to be found in the Epistles.  Recent Christian writers such as C.S. Lewis, Jeffery Burton Russell, Peter Kreeft, and Randy Alcorn have written extensively on the general resurrection of the saints.

    Imagining people in heaven may be the easiest of all, and it is to this image this meditation is directed.  It is our contention that among the people described on the People page and in the more abbreviated form found on the Events pages on this site are some of the most interesting and admirable people who have ever lived.  These are people who all of us would want to count as friends, who could be admired even with their flaws, and who could be adopted as inspiring faithful models.  Now, imagine a place full of such people, almost beyond count from every century and continent, each willing to spend a lifetime – literally their lifetime – to tell you, their friend, how they were faithful to God and ended up with Him and you.  Each one!  Of course they would have moments (or years) of boredom or even despair, just as you and we once did, but in the end their lives triumph.  With God’s help you see what they saw, feel what they felt, hear their words and thoughts and prayers in their own tongues with full understanding.  Each skill they learned, every game they played, every hug given or received, every Godly act is preserved to be shared with you. Would that be boring?

    To ask the question is to answer it.  No entertainment industry could ever hope to match it.  The account of each person’s salvation would take years, and if you are mathematically inclined you can take your idea of the numbers in heaven and multiply the years of witness and love.  Only an Eternity could hold it all.  And in the end, should you tire of the reruns (for awhile), you could always turn to God Himself.  Always.