I was asked by College Hill to preach on my favorite hymn or song. “It Is Well With My Soul” is, hands down, my all time favorite. How does anybody sing that second verse straight through without breaking up, or at least getting a huge lump in the throat? Even the author couldn’t make it through the first three words without losing it. “My sin…” And then he has to stop down and comment on what he’s about to say before he even says it. “…oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!” It’s an amazing song.
But I went with my second favorite last night at College Hill, “When We All Get To Heaven.” As a kid growing up in the Grove, this was the song we always sang as the very last song at our 5th Sunday Singings at the Pleasant Grove Church. It’s how we closed out all these special singings. So I knew that when we sang that song, the homemade ice-cream was next. I loved that song.
Now I’ve come to appreciate that when we sing that song we’re proclaiming our belief in Heaven, we’re declaring that we know we’re all going to Heaven, and we’re affirming our strong desire to get there. For those reasons, I think it’s wonderful when the Christian family sings this song together.
But it’s not altogether wrong to allow this song to still remind me of ice-cream.
Because every one of the Scriptural references to Heaven, all the biblical portraits we’re given of Heaven, are painted in the context of a meal. Heaven in the Bible is a massive banquet. It’s a gigantic family feast!
Isaiah 25 sounds exactly like the descriptions of heaven in Revelation 7 and 21, at the wedding feast of the Lamb. In Matthew 22 Jesus says Heaven is like a wedding feast. The ox and cows are butchered. All things are ready. Come to the feast! In Luke 13 Jesus is talking about Heaven when he says Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets will be there. People will come from North, South, East, and West to take their places with them at the feast. The ten virgins in Matthew 25. The parables in Luke 12 and 14. Heaven is a huge dinner party!
And our meals together here on earth should all anticipate Heaven. God’s Holy Word says that’s what Heaven is like. When we eat together, we ought to be thinking about Heaven, when we’re ALL going to be together, when all of God’s children will be gathered around the Father’s table at the great eternal feast.
Allow your family meals to point you to Heaven. Allow our communion meal together this Sunday to anticipate Heaven.