Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Big Living Room

Last Friday night 260+ of us from the Rochester Church went to see The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe together. Two of the ladies of the church had the idea to approach a theater, arrange for purchasing tickets, and even set up a dessert reception after the movie at the church building where the kids made crowns and shields and the parents ate and visited.

It was a strange feeling to stand near the back of a movie auditorium and see it filled with people I knew. We didn't take every seat so the theater sold the rest of them to people outside our congregation. It was fascinating to watch them come in and freeze, literally stopping dead in their tracks at the tableau before them: people going from place to place all over the auditorium hugging each other, laughing and smiling. They could tell that something very strange was going on but they had no way to absorb it, contextualize it. This was a room full of people who loved each other, who were genuinely happy to see each other, and who hurried to show grace and welcome to each other. Who were these people?

While they wrestled with that, I wrestled with something else. I couldn't make myself sit down until they dimmed the lights for the obligatory twenty minutes of previews. I was near the back and I didn't go from person to person and join in the greeting. I was too busy watching it all... in awe at this preview of heaven. "Is this what it's going to be like?" I wondered. Will it feel like this -- like a huge living room filled with your favorite people -- people who love you and like you and want to be with you?

We don't talk much about heaven and, perhaps, even less about hell. Why? Perhaps we have swung far, far away from the other extreme where we talked about God making it all right "bye and bye" and did nothing to stop racism, poverty, domestic violence, etc. We counseled battered women to hang in there because God would make it up to them in heaven (I am not making this up -- I heard it many times). It seems that we finally realized that Christ wanted us to live righteous lives NOW so we got about to what CS Lewis would have called "the business of heaven."

Have we gone so far in the other direction that we no longer long for heaven? Is it a lack of teaching? Is it that we have so much stuff that we are comfortable HERE and no longer looking for a THERE?

I don't know. But I DO know this: after seeing that group of happy, loving people last Friday, I can't wait to run into heaven's living room and spending eternity with them. Come Lord Jesus.

14 Comments:

At 12/13/2005 11:32:00 AM , Blogger David U said...

PM, my longing grows every day! I can't wait to sit in the big living room with you, so we can get to know each other better. Reckon we will have enough time? :)
So, when will you give us your take on the movie? You know how to keep us coming back, huh?

Have a great week!
DU

 
At 12/13/2005 01:06:00 PM , Blogger DJG said...

Amen, come quickly Lord Jesus!

 
At 12/13/2005 01:21:00 PM , Blogger That Girl said...

I CAN NOT WAIT!

I'm ready to go right now! I would love to sit on the couch with you and a bunch of other computer friends... we'll just love it there! Can you imagine Jesus sitting on the couch with us?

It's too much too imagine! Maybe he'll come get us this afternoon! Yay!!!

 
At 12/13/2005 01:38:00 PM , Blogger Cheetah, the cheetah said...

I want to go to the movies with Rochester!! I read that series of books in junior high when my brother, Larry Stewart, gave them to me for Christmas. I'm re-reading them again and enjoying them like the first time.

It's wonderful when Christians are together and I think it IS a taste of the heaven that is to come here on earth. Those who have the privilege of living in that all the time maybe get used to it and maybe take it for granted?

I think I took it for granted when I had it--and oh how I miss it!

 
At 12/13/2005 02:58:00 PM , Blogger Lee Hodges said...

There is a part of me that longs to go home. To end the struggle, to rest at His feet, to begin an eternity of praise.

But there is another part that is not ready to go. So many of those I love and so many others that I don't know, don't know Him. So while we wait for the second coming, I hurt for those who never heard of His first entrance into our world. So many only know about the baby in the manger and not the Son on the Cross and its implications for their eternity.

That is my conflict. I want to go home, but I need to stay--for them.

 
At 12/13/2005 06:36:00 PM , Blogger That Girl said...

Well... Jesus didn't come get me this afternoon. I'm still here - y'all are still here, too - right?

 
At 12/13/2005 06:57:00 PM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

Yes, I'm still here, but not for long! I turn 49 in a few days so one way or another I'm getting off this planet and into the big living room in the sky soon -- praise God!

 
At 12/13/2005 08:01:00 PM , Blogger Amy said...

Love this post! What a refreshing view of heaven. God's living room. Forever living room.

 
At 12/13/2005 08:01:00 PM , Blogger Amy said...

Except I bet there's no sticky stuff all over the floor.

 
At 12/13/2005 08:34:00 PM , Blogger Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Oh, I want to be there in that living room with all of you and so many others so badly. Badly enough that I try to spend every moment of the life I have left on this earth trying to tell as many peope as I can about the "good news" and to share what I have found as His beloved child.

I also want to go see the movie really badly in a big screen theater with all the power it brings to movies of such majesty, but guess because of the aggravating broken foot and crutches and my husband's terribly wearing six long days and nights a week for the foreseeable future since the hurricane, we'll have to wait for the DVD.

Unless - perhaps - do you suppose I could experience it in all its glorious reality even sooner. From the time I was very young - and I'm talking about teenage years and early 20s, if not earlier, and I know not why except my deep faith, I always felt and believed that this world would end in my lifetime and I always looked forward to that.

So I can join you in joy "saying come Lord Jesus, come." But, oh, I want to stay here long enough to bring many others with me. So I am torn.

 
At 12/13/2005 08:57:00 PM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

I understand being torn... but according the the latest figures 245 babies are born every 60 seconds. Less than one third of those will be introduced to any form of Christianity. Every day I ask God to keep this world spinning so I can reach my family, most of whom reject Jesus, more and more babies are born who are doomed without Jesus. I can't help but feel that prayers for extending the world are selfish. But understandable. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

 
At 12/14/2005 02:29:00 PM , Blogger Whitney said...

Thats cool! Lately the church to I went to as a kid has been tugging at my heart. Because that church had people of almost every background and thats probably what heavens like. Africans,asians,whites, LOL and its almost like the worlds greeting place. :-)
My new post is on that topic.

God Bless!

 
At 12/14/2005 02:50:00 PM , Blogger Lynda Bee said...

Sometimes God gives us a "taste" of heaven here so we can use that to help us get through today. I think the older I get - the more excited I get about going "Home".

Being a Harding brat - I've always likened Heaven to that first day back on campus.. when you haven't seen your friends in 3 whole months (what a cruel, cruel world!:-) But that feeling of excitment, hugging everyone you see - and just being so glad to be back in that environment. It was always overwhelming to me. I know heaven will be so much more...

God Bless!

Lynda

 
At 12/14/2005 04:37:00 PM , Blogger mike the eyeguy said...

Patrick--

I agree--movie theaters full of Christians are very cool and a nice "foretaste of glory divine."

Lynda Bee--
Are you the same Lynda Bee who was at Harding in the early 80s and was in Tofebt and used to hang out with a chick named Soo Lin?

 

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