Yesterday, I wrote about Harmony Church‘s forthcoming Block Party and why we’re celebrating on Easter instead of having a church service.
(Fellow Harmonizer and friend Derek has nine more reasons at Missio, including a nifty link back to a blog belonging to yours truly!)
Simply put, it’s all about Jesus. If you believe what we believe (that our sins were paid for on the cross, that Jesus is working in us now to heal us and make us more like him, that we will experience victory over death itself and the world will be put right), then you can’t help but be a little happy. To refuse to do so may be blasphemy.
But what I was thinking about today was a passage from a letter written one by one of Jesus’ earliest followers (and certainly one of the most influential, even in our time):
“For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,
if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked.
“For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened-not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”
2 Corinthians 5:1-4
Let’s be clear about something: the biblical hope of Christians is not to go off to heaven when we die. It’s the final restoration of this world, of the heavens and the earth; our hope and destiny is bound to this.
Those in Christ will be resurrected as he was.
We’re not looking to cast aside our physical bodies and float around in a nonphysical world. We’re looking forward to the ultimate healing of our bodies, the purging of any darkness left in us and the victory of death, guaranteed by Christ and promised by his disciples.
When this happens, God the Creator who fashioned us will be God the Magnificent Artist, finishing His masterpiece in His creation and His children**. We’re looking forward to being more ourselves than we’ve ever been before and living in a new world, fully suited to our redeemed bodies.
And we’re looking forward to all sorts of new experiences in the world to come. Seeing colors beyond our imagination. Perfecting forms of travel that can take us to deeper reaches of space. New species of plants and animals. Developing new methods of science to help us understand even more about our world and ourselves.*
Not to mention the lack of war, sickness, child poverty, global starvation, environmental distress, economic upheaval, and death. They’ll all be distant memories of a world that will never be allowed to come back to haunt us.
Because then, those in Christ will have been swallowed up in life and experience the best part of being swallowed up: intimate, eternal friendship with God. Those stains on the present world will have no place in the one to come.
*I’m speculating here, but I wouldn’t put it past our Father to create all new universes for us to go explore in (we’re going to have the time, after all) just to excite us and remind us how glorious and imaginative He really is.
**I do mean “artist.” In Ephesians, Paul refers to us as God’s workmanship, which I understand can also be translated as “poetry.” At this point, Paul is referring to us in the present. God isn’t waiting to love a future, cleaned-up version of you, as Matt Chandler says. God’s work might be not complete in you, but He takes delight in you nonetheless. We’re a messy masterpiece.