What’s heaven like?
I don’t really have a clear idea of what I think heaven is like. I doubt it’s white robes and clouds and harps and stuff. But I could be wrong.
My sister-in-law was working at a Vacation Bible School last week. They had mass everyday. (Yes, it was Catholic, but that’s incidental.) For an hour, little children were supervised and corrected if they failed to fold their hands or bow their heads correctly. (You Baptists, the more you try to not be like Catholics, the more you meet them on the other side of the spectrum. Everyone say it together…”Every head bowed, every eye closed.”)
Anyway, by the end of mass, the kids were absolutely itching to go home. Apparently this was the kind of VBS that didn’t include outside time, crafts, or snacks. And then one of the children had an interesting question:
“What’s heaven like?”
We were always told as kids something like it’s better than anything you can imagine. Whatever the best thing is you can think of, it’s better than that.
The answer the child was given? Heaven is like mass…all the time.
I can’t think of a worse answer than saying heaven is like 24/7 church…any church, unless your church happens to worship by playing ultimate frisbee inside a giant ‘moon bounce.’ First, it’s pretty obnoxious to think that our form of worship is perfect enough to actually be ‘heaven on earth.’ I don’t even want heaven to be like my church! To think that God would look at my order of worship, my hymns, my sermon, my prayers and say, “That’s good enough for them to do in my all-consuming presence forever,” is absurd. Second, I can’t think of a more inept way to communicate with a child. Hey kids, heaven is like your daily quiet devotional time! Blargh. Well, glad I’m not having quiet time now, since I’ll be doing it forever anyway. And if you’re extra good, you get to go to the heaven that’s like Algebra homework!
Who wants to go to heaven? Not me! If hell has an air hockey table in the dorm lobby, I’m sold.
Church is oftentimes not a perfect, or completely enjoyable experience, because it’s filled with imperfect people. There are lots of things that would make a better analogy for heaven (at least in my childish mind.)
Heaven is More Like These Than Church…
If I had a million dollars, there’d be a list of things I’d do. One of those things would be to buy a new pair of socks…every day. That’s right, I would be wearing a new pair of socks everyday, every pair at the end of the day never to touch my feet again. I love new socks. They feel great, and I feel better about myself when I wear them. I think it’s a perfectly legitimate expectation that heaven is filled with new socks. Maybe we’ll get socks that feel new every day though they never need replacing! Gasp!
Not really the gum itself, because the gum isn’t anything special. Heaven is more like the commercials. Like the one of the guy getting pelted with oranges, or bouncing on a giant speaker. Actually, the gum is kind of a letdown after they try to make it sound so intense. But heaven will be that intense. It will be like learning kung fu in three seconds through a giant needle in the back of your head.
Double Stuf Oreos
Remember how I said we were told heaven is better than the best thing you can think of? I think a lot of people who invent snack foods went to church and heard that. Some guy walks into the Oreo offices on Monday and says,
“Guys, what’s the best thing in the world?”
Everyone answers, “The creamy stuff inside Oreos that gives you cancer.”
“Right, so what’s better than the best thing you can think of? Double the stuf.”
“Did you just say ‘stuff’ with one ‘f?'”
I like to pull one cookie off of two Double Oreos and then stick the two cream sides together and have a MegaDeluxQuadStuf Oreo. I like to push the human limits of Stuf consumption.
I think the concept of ‘better than the best thing ever’ has given us lots of awesome snacks, just about every type of carnival food, and every food that’s eaten off of a stick. What’s better than a Twinkie? A Twinkie on a stick, dipped in pancake batter and deep fried, of course! Heaven is like that.
All the Cheat Codes
This may not be that relevant for anyone over 35. But what was even better than having an awesome video game as a kid? Having all the secret cheats unlocked. Suddenly, you’re no longer a 90 pound weakling getting pushed around, you’re a hulking Destroy-A-Thon of shock and awe. No goomba can stand in your way, and the Princess is in whatever castle I say she’s in! Heaven’s the ultimate secret room, and Jesus is like “up up down down left right left right B A.”
And if heaven really is all about 24/7 church and not socks, then I’m going to be disappointed.
What about you? What do you think heaven’s like? What would be the best thing in the world to you, and how would it be made better? What were you told heaven was like when you were a kid?