Glimpses of Heaven

Let me share with you the train of thought that brought me to this topic. Our church will be having our annual Homecoming service on September 26th, so I was thinking about that day. In twenty years of preaching, I have come to a pretty good understanding of homecoming services.  Although, the details vary slightly, the day is set up pretty much the same no matter where you are.

Homecoming is a time to remember the past. On special homecomings (big anniversary’s like 100, etc) lot’s of old preachers will be invited back. Letters will be sent to as many people who are or ever were part of the church. These letters pretty much say “come back and remember with us the good ole days at ________ church”  There will be lots and lots of food (remember to keep your fork!) and there usually is some form of special music. All in all a good day!

Okay, so what makes it a good day? Why do we go back for homecoming? Why do we rearrange our schedule so that we can be there on that day? The music, the food, the preacher are all a part of it, but I would venture to say it is the relationships that draw us back. We are there to celebrate with our current friends certainly, but I think the chance to reaffirm relationships & joint experiences from the past is the big drawing card.

Let me explain it  this way. One way to define heaven is through our relationship with God. Heaven is being totally with God; being totally in His presence.  So to have a relationship or a shared experience that is in line with God’s will is to have a “Glimpse of Heaven.”

I believe that in our life as a church, we are given many such glimpses and it is these memories that draw us back.  Let me give you a few examples of what I am talking about. Standing in the creek and watching the face of one who has just been baptized was a “glimpse of heaven”  Seeing one of our young people acolyte for the very first time and feeling how the whole congregation watched was a “glimpse of heaven.” Watching as members of the church gather around a new member is a “glimpse of heaven.” Hearing someone say, ‘preacher, your message really spoke to me today’ is a “glimpse of heaven.”

Do you see why I call these memories, these experiences “glimpses of heaven.”  It is when God draws near to us and enters into our relationships and experiences. We can be a part of a church for many years, but it will be these moments – baptisms, weddings, testimonies, special songs, funerals, the conversations or even the unplanned moments – that will be the things we remember. It is these “glimpses of heaven” that makes this church “our church.”

Okay, now it’s your turn.  I want to invite you to share your own “glimpses of heaven” Tell me stories of times when you felt the presence of God in our church (or any church). Tell me stories of when Immanuel (God is with us) entered your relationships.

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