Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Theme is Chosen, Invitations are Sent
Have you ever been responsible for planning a large event? Maybe a wedding? A reception? A business function that brought in board members or managers?
If you have, you've probably heard the saying, "Whatever can go wrong, probably will." There are just so many details to work out. Invitations. Who is invited? Who isn't invited? How many are expected? Then how will each guest be recognized or made to feel recognized and special. Will there be registration of some sort? If guests are traveling, are hotel arrangements made and how will those be paid? How will guest get from the airport to the hotel or event location? That doesn't even begin to scratch the surface because we haven't even started talking about food for breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks. We haven't considered entertainment either. Will you need microphones, lighting, and projection equipment for power point presentation? So, will you? Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. And if this doesn't go well, people will be talking about you till the cows come home!
It can be downright overwhelming and cumbersome. This is why it isn't usually just one person planning the larger events…it's a team!
I bet you are wondering where in the world I'm going with this, aren't you? Actually, I'm not going just anywhere in the world with this.
I am back in seminary, and while I wasn't really looking forward to this particular online class, it really has me thinking. You see, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about being a Baptist because I am a multi-generational-Southern Baptist. But I've actually learned things critical to my faith, and I've learned things that have made me ponder. Pondering is what I do best – Winnie the Pooh and I are alike in that way.Currently, in my class, we are studying the Kingdom of God and Last Things (what is going to happen in the end). And this is where I started pondering about the planning of large events.
Think about it…when Christ returns He is going to be taking a BOAT LOAD of bodies up to heaven. In human terms let's work through this, shall we? And since it's my blog, I AM. The souls have been in heaven, but when Christ returns, the dead will rise and then those of us who remain will be caught up in sky. So in essence, you have souls being matched with bodies from since THE BEGINNING OF TIME, and on top of that, you have an influx of new people. What would that look like here on earth? Social security has a hard time keeping people matched with their social security numbers at times. Can you imagine them trying to match the right body with the right soul? If your last name starts with an "A," please stand in this line and fill out this paperwork. Based on the information you provide, we will try to find your soul. SAY WHAT? Then there is the influx of newbies…have you ever been around a bunch of greenhorns? They are full of questions. They don't stay in line. Some wander off wanting to see the streets of gold and to find the Great Throne. Um, ma'am, you haven't been processed. You have to be processed to make sure that your room is ready. Please fill out this form and take a number. We'll get to you as soon as possible. WOULDN'T THIS BE A NIGHTMARE!? I know you are probably wondering, "Why am I reading this?" But hang on. I do have a point….
But it won't be like this AT ALL. You see, God is preparing to have a party of one with you. Jesus went to prepare a place (it says so in Matthew). The preparations for THE BIG DAY are being worked on and made ready even as you read this goofy blog. Next, God's got this. There won't be any lines. There isn't any stress. For where God is there is peace and rest and joy. This will be a time of great rejoicing. Souls won't be mismatched to the wrong bodies. The newbies will have nothing to fear. There is going to be some awesome singing and worshipping and praising God…lifting up holy hands, falling down on our faces before an Almighty God. You will want for nothing. I CANNOT WAIT FOR THAT DAY! (No more tears in heaven. Seeing loved ones who have gone on before me. Meeting people I had only read about. AMAZING!)
On the flip side of this, however, is a very real place called "hell" – eternal separation from God. A place where this skin burns but isn't consumed. Wailing and gnashing of teeth. The smell of Sulfur (like rotten eggs) and of burning flesh. No rest. Extreme pain 24/7. I cannot begin to fathom the suffering that goes on there now and will continue to go on forever. I don't want to process that. I try to put it out of my mind, but maybe if I kept it more in the forefront of my mind, I'd do more about it. I want my goal to be, "When the rapture happens, I want there to be a large group of newbies entering heaven than hell." What are you doing about it? Who will you invite to go with you to heaven, to meet your Savior?