There and back again

Confession: Sometimes I hope that heaven will involve the reliving of earthly life, perfected.

Our sweetest moments are foretastes.

Our worst moments plead for redemption.

And those in-between moments—the beautiful-broken occupying so much of our time—what would they be like in Paradise? What flaws would He heal? What beauties would He unpack?

If I live to be 100, reliving my life x5 in glory would take only 500 years of eternity: just a snippet, a scrap. So I’m asking the Lord if this could be; if part of my joy in immortality could be backward-looking: a fixing, a healing, a rediscovering.

I wish this most, ironically, in times of worship.

Last night I sat with my community through a concert of beautiful music, a chorale singing praise to the Father and to His Son incarnate.

Harmony and beauty refreshed our souls, called us to come. One song in particular begged for response—an African lilt. There we sat, tongue-tied, swaying slightly. In glory, we would have been on our feet, thronging the aisles, hands thrown up, eyes alight, 200 voices joining in praise. The song cried for dance, for impromptu obbligato, for intricate additions.

We sat there, swaying a little. Some called a soft Amen. Some closed their eyes.

And this is good.

There are, I think, forms of worship that have not yet come of age. They are green fruit, unripe, unready. When we pluck them prematurely, we find them sour with untimeliness, freckled with problems. I await the day when we can give ourselves to worship fully, can cast ourselves headlong without fear, can cry without shame, can laugh without inhibition, can dance without violation, can sing without fault, can praise without selfishness.

I hope that in glory, we can look back and do it right.


If my wish for heaven became reality, what would you anticipate? How would Jesus illumine your brightest moments, or restore your worst?

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11 years ago

In Central America where I live, the natives dont wait till they’re in heaven to dance clap n shout! Its contagious;)

Mama Zook
11 years ago

if you watch little children before they have learned inhibitions, they clap, they sway, and dance to music!! I really think in heaven our worship of Him will be more childlike in all innocence!

11 years ago

Have you read Safely Home by Randy Alcorn? I love the part where when Li Quan gets to heaven he finishes the book he started on earth. He becomes a professor. On earth he was brilliant and had the education to be a teacher but can’t because he’s a Christian and lives in China and no one will hire him.

And these lines from the book: “Charis is not the absence of longing but its fulfillment. Heaven is not the absence of itches; it is the satisfying scratch for every itch.”

I LOVE your “green fruit unripe, unready” paragraph. All of it.

I hope that when I get to heaven I will be able to write like Shari.
And sing like my sister Linda.
And play the piano gloriously.
And laugh a lot. Because I don’t do it much here.

11 years ago
Reply to  Luci

Safely Home is a must-read. I wanted and desired heaven like I never did before. I like the “satisfying scratch for every itch” part. I should read this book again, just for kicks.

And I crave more in worship. I long for our hands raised, and standing, swaying… I do the “tears down the cheeks” amen… but otherwise, there’s not too much physical participation in worship. Of course, we sing our hearts out. Too bad for those who don’t sing much.

Always wonder what worship would be like w/ no self-consciousness. Or selfishness. Or critical eyes. Or fear.

Alvin S
11 years ago

What a beautiful idea… a thought-provoking concept.

To experience relationship without fault, fulfill appetites without guilt, and gain fullness of intellect, because we are with the Intellect, without arrogance.

I agree with Luci, your “green fruit” paragraph is excellent. It will probably end up stuck to someone’s fridge or computer monitor, it’s that good.

11 years ago

Good stuff here. It’s why I miss the woods of my childhood. There I ran and whooped and sat and cried and worshiped God however I pleased . . . Nowdays, I grab a few moments in the car each week . . . . but that must by necessity be sedate and controlled compared to worship in the woods. Still, it’s what I have now, so I’ll take it and be thankful till I get to do more again. . . . someday.

LaDonna Nice
11 years ago

When I’m alone in the presence of my Jesus, I have experienced a foretaste of what this worship may be like. But I look forward to the day when we can worship without any inhibitions.
I also look forward to relationships. Relationships that are not competitive or destructive, but real and true and pure. The person who God made us to be fully embraced by ourselves, delighted in by others and vice versa. I look forward to having time, eternity time to stop and smell the roses, which I’m sure will be infinitely more wonderful. There is much more I look forward too in this light.

Speaking of Safely Home, if you want an excellent book on Heaven, “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn is a wonderful book in my opinion.

11 years ago

And…I think we don’t have to wait for heaven to express ourselves in out-of-the-box ways. I think my own insecurities hold me back more than anything else. I think it is far easier to live under “What will people think of me if I…” than to live in total abandon.

I say this, also believing that the ultimate worship experience is awaiting us in heaven for sure.

I just think we all might be missing out on heavenly blessings being experienced on earth…because of our own hang-ups. Me included.

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