Tuesday, May 11, 2021

When Do I Get to See God?

Scripture Reading: 1 John 5:9-13

When we all get to heaven,

what a day of rejoicing that will be!

When we all see Jesus,

we'll sing and shout the victory!

This hymn was composed by Eliza E. Hewitt and Emily D. Wilson in 1898.  According to C. Michael Hawn, this was composed under the influence of Methodist camp meetings at Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

This enthusiastic hymn speaks to me of God's prevenient grace where God reaches out to all humankind.  It is optimistic in its nature and inclusivity.  There are many times when Christianity has emphasized the limited nature of salvation and encouraged others to doubt whether or not they would make it to heaven.  I think this was done in order to challenge people in their faithfulness.  This would theoretically keep people from backsliding.  Fear was designed to keep us on the right path.

Personally, I don't like this approach and prefer the idea that heaven is something that we can't achieve until we're all present.  I'm not sure how this works but I believe that this is God's desire as well.

The butterfly is often a symbol of the
resurrection and the new life we have in Christ.
The epistle reading for this week reminds us that we have eternal life in Christ.  Sometimes we get caught up in the idea that this doesn't start until we're dead.  In essence, this is true.  But we have to look at our death on a different time line.  When we are in Christ, we die to sin according to Paul.  We die to our old selves.  We die to a world that wants to define us as less-than or as not-quite-good-enough.  

Rather, when we are justified to God in Christ, we are born anew.  We begin to live the life eternal in the here and now.

When we do imagine God, many people envision what they might ask God in person when they actually get to heaven and see God for the first time.  Rather, as Christians, we are learning to see differently.  We begin to see God working all around us in the here and now.  We work on God's behalf to shape the world as we envision heaven to be.  

So we don't wait for eternal life as if it was something we achieve in the life to come.  We have already begun eternity.  Some theologians say it begins at our baptism.  If this is the case, when we sing, "When We All Get to Heaven", it may take on a different meaning for us.

We'll continue to look at this text and subject matter in worship on Sunday.  We are still getting our live-stream chops back but you can join us in person or online.  Some of our Sunday school classes have started back up at 9:45 am and we also have our more contemporary offering (Worship on Hurd) outside at 9:45 as well.  

If you are not able to sign up online in advance, we would love to have you join us regardless!

In Christ,


 Photo by Heidi via Flick.com.  Used under the Creative Commons license.

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