My Sunday school teacher told me heaven would be a giant celebration of worship.
I was a kid. I had been in worship… a lot for a guy of my years. I’d been enduring my own church’s “celebrations” of worship for 12 long years. I’d celebrated worship at other churches. And on my vast base of knowledge and experiences, I’d concluded that worship was all plaintive church music, long-winded readings, and a bunch of participants trying not to fall asleep.
I felt bad, but my Sunday school teacher’s revelation of heaven didn’t get me very excited for eternity.
At that time, I spent most worship services thinking about baseball. I warded off the nods by recalling past lineups and rosters of my favorite team: the Chicago Cubs. It kept my mind well-enough engaged and moving that I could keep my eyes open.
1984 Cubs, go: Leading off in center, Bob Dernier… batting second, second baseman Ryne Sandberg… batting third, left fielder, Gary Matthews… hitting clean up and playing first base, Leon “Bull” Durham…
I concentrated on 1984 because that’s the closest the Cubs had come to winning anything during my lifetime. (They haven’t come much closer since.) I dreamt of ways the Cubs might have held that team together, or how they could reshape their current team to find the right mix that would take them to a World Series title. I imagined the celebration that would hit Chicago if that actually happened (several decades later, I still imagine that celebration… sigh). What at scene I created: an entire city of millions celebrating a final victory. People taking to the streets, locked shoulder to shoulder in solidarity. The police officers getting high fives from the street thugs. Everyone together, united behind a single cause, content in shared purpose. Even the Chicago River would get in on the celebration by losing its normal green coloration for a more natural, Cubbie-blue color. Yup, when the Cubs won it, even nature would be a participant in the celebration.
There’s something Biblical about that kind of celebration. Something that recalls the very end of the book… when heaven and earth become one. It’s an apocalyptic vision… not the kind of apocalypse with giant meteors, panic, death, and zombies… but the kind of apocalypse when one world passes into another. The kind of apocalypse where a divided and broken Earth finds unity in spirit and victory… and boom, heaven erupts upon earth.
Oh that it might come. Oh that the Cubs might usher in such a celebration. But what would be more wonderful? Humanity not waiting for the seemingly impossible to happen and initiating the heavenly celebration on our own.
May we grasp the reality that heaven is not a far off existence–but is meant to be established here. And when the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, may we glimpse a scene of a unified Earth fully realized.