Pastimes & Education in Heaven ~ BitterSweetLife

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Pastimes & Education in Heaven

In heaven there will be a lot of people looking around awkwardly, desperately searching for new hobbies. Today, something similar happens when someone arrives at a certain kind of party and discovers to her dismay that she is a wallflower. An occupation, any occupation, is hurriedly searched for and eagerly grasped. Some people have been known to become ping pong players at a moment’s notice. Others gain a sudden interest in conversations which would have put them to sleep up until that moment.

I see something similar happening in heaven, where many “important" pastimes will be reduced to irrelevancy. What people pass off as “occupations” down here for 80 years will, in heaven, be revealed as the temporary preoccupations of a past life—and we will realize with embarrassment that we drastically overemphasized the importance of the temporary minutia.

In heaven, there will be a lot of silence, at first. Gradually, we will learn an appropriate vocabulary, one with better adjectives than “cool.”

Some people will pull up short, a little after they enter the eternal realm, and realize they are very clumsy in conversation, no longer being able to rely on the intrigues of the stock market. Others will open their mouths and shut them in a silly way—the ins and outs of home repair now being passé.

Suburban chic will be no more, and thrilling details about Sales and Money Back, will seem like bad middle school jokes. I suspect that even the topic of weather, whose relevance we took to be eternal, will have lost its fascination. And I admit it, not even the hallowed institution of college sports will be there to rely on (at least not until we reconstruct some kind of amateur hoops league).

I think there will be a lot of silence, at first. Gradually, we will learn an appropriate vocabulary for heaven, one with better adjectives than “cool.” Some will have an advantage here—they will be the people who walked most closely with Christ on earth, and they will have the edge. Maybe, being much more comfortable and relaxed than everyone else, they will have a little fun at our expense. But not for long: the holiest of us will lead the way, and show the rest of us how to eat, how to talk, how to play, in heaven. We will eagerly reorient our lives and conversations to what is important and interesting in ultimate reality.

As I think about it, it seems like the amount of rehabilitation that will be required for some Christians will be really massive! For example, what will the church gossip do with herself for the first several weeks in heaven? And the hard-line theologizer who thought that holiness meant angrily rebuking those with lesser knowledge? Perhaps the first month in paradise will feature remedial courses establishing the fittingness of silence.

Many of us Christians are very messed up. However, I have no worries. Among other things, we will have finally stumbled upon an educational system that really works.



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5 comments:

must_decrease said...

Maybe Pistol Pete can be the commish of our new amature league...I digress

I share the same thoughts about the realm to which we will someday call our home. It is as if the cares of this world, money, possessions, time, energy and effort will fall away as an insignificant waste of time in light of the real joy of work in worship and adoration of our King.

While we do spend our time on this earthly crust though, there is something about the redemptive nature of work that is worth mentioning. Since we were made in the image of God, and God was Creator, we too are meant to be part of a larger work of creation, yet everything got jacked up when we started talking to that snake and as a result, we fell and work fell with us.

Thankfully, we have been redeemed once and forever because of the completed work of Christ on the Cross, and let us not forget that redemption included our work as well.

I have an inkling in the corner of my mind, that if we viewed the work that we do in this place during this time as an act of redemption, as good and pleasing, worthy to be done, then when we do find ourselves in that eternal place, we may very well indeed not be so akward in conversation and be able to look back in fond memory of some of what took place during this sojourn in eternity

Ariel said...

"Maybe Pistol Pete can be the commish of our new amature league..."

Sounds good, man. I think we'd better get the paperwork in now. Although if Pistol ever makes it onto the court, I don't know if I'll be touching the rock much.

"if we viewed the work that we do in this place during this time as an act of redemption, as good and pleasing, worthy to be done, then when we do find ourselves in that eternal place, we may very well indeed not be so akward in conversation and be able to look back in fond memory of some of what took place during this sojourn in eternity."

Very, very good thought. I think this is an important corollary to what I wrote. Some "good" things will continue to be good, and God-centered work is one of them. I guess I could even go a little further and say, whatever is truly good and beautiful here will continue to be so in heaven.

Ched said...

Good thoughts. This discussion reminds me of one of my favorite edwards passages from his sermon "God Glorified in man's dependence:"

The glorious excellencies and beauty of God will be what will for ever entertain the minds of the saints, and the love of God will be their everlasting feast. The redeemed will indeed enjoy other things; they will enjoy the angels, and will enjoy one another; but that which they shall enjoy in the angels, or each other, or in any thing else whatsoever that will yield them delight and happiness, will be what shall be seen of God in them.

Ched said...

Good Thoughts. This reminds me of one of my favorite Edwards passages from his sermon, "God Glorified by Man's Dependence:"

The glorious excellencies and beauty of God will be what will for ever entertain the minds of the saints, and the love of God will be their everlasting feast. The redeemed will indeed enjoy other things; they will enjoy the angels, and will enjoy one another; but that which they shall enjoy in the angels, or each other, or in any thing else whatsoever that will yield them delight and happiness, will be what shall be seen of God in them.

Anonymous said...

Well put, bro. These are hilariously edifying ruminations. I enjoy reading your thoughts, as always.

 

Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife