Opening THE Book with Rev John K-S October 2021
Rev John Kinchin-Smith
Assistant Minister, St Andrew’s Church, Gorleston
In one of his letters, St Paul says that he would much rather die and go to be with the Lord, “for that is far better”, than to continue to live this life (Philippians chapter 1 verses 2122). He continues “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”. I wonder how many of us could ever say that. Do we not hold on to life in every way we can and do everything in our power to avoid death? Yes, there is great sadness for those loved ones left behind when someone dies. Jesus wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus (John’s Gospel chapter 11). But why be sad for the one who has died?
The answer, of course, is that most people think that this life is the only life there is and that heaven is ‘pie in the sky’. We therefore cling to life and to material things. We envy the rich, the powerful, the successful and the beautiful. Often we reach for these things at the expense of others. Yet throughout history there have been those who have willingly given their lives for others believing that something far better awaits them. Were they mad, deluded or mistaken?
The Bible is very clear that this life is not the only life, that there is a far better life to come. In John’s Gospel chapter 14, Jesus promises that heaven is his Father’s house with many rooms – room for diversity, room for differences. Nothing will be stereotyped in heaven, nothing ordinary. Heaven will be full of surprises, full of discoveries, full of wonder and full of mystery
Heaven is therefore a place of fulfilment, the place where we become all that we were created to be – all those aspirations we never achieved, all those skills we never perfected, all those tasks we never completed – heaven is the place where all our potential of gifts and character become perfected and fulfilled, where all the pain and wounds of life are healed and where all the love and beauty and goodness of our lives are made complete
And because it’s the Father’s house, it’s ’home’. Home is the place where we’re truly loved for ourselves, the place where we’re loved to the end, never forgotten and always welcome. In heaven we’ll truly be at home. Isn’t that something to look forward to?
also published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine
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