There is a story about a newly married couple who went up to their beautiful bridal suite in an elegant hotel in the wee hours of the morning. They were exhausted from the many hours at their wedding, the reception and from mingling with their guests.
They took a look around their room and saw the sofa, chairs, desk and table. But where was the bed? This was the bridal suite!
They discovered that the sofa was a hide-a-bed, complete with a lumpy mattress and springs that were sagging to the floor. They spent their fitful wedding night on a hid-a-bed, waking up with sore backs and headaches.
The next morning the new husband went to the hotel desk and gave the management a tongue-lashing for giving them such a terrible room for their wedding night.
“Did you open the door in the room?” was the hotel manager’s response. When the groom went back to his room, he opened a door they thought was a closet. There, complete with fruit baskets, flowers, champagne and chocolates was the most beautiful bedroom they had ever seen.
I believe this is the point Jesus is making in today’s Gospel (Luke 20: 27-38).
Some Sadducees who say there is no resurrection come to Jesus and ask him about the woman who was married seven times. When she dies, which of the seven men will be her husband?
Jesus says that in heaven there are no husbands or wives. Death is like opening the door in the story about the couple on their wedding night. We are looking for heaven and what it will be like. But we are on THIS SIDE of the door – the earthly side of a closed door.
Open that door when we die and WOW! Now we know what real living is all about.
You and I are not that much different than the Sadducees. We all have questions about heaven and what it will be like. We wonder whether babies who die as babies will still be babies in heaven and those who die at an old age will still be old in heaven.
We wonder if we will recognize one another. In some cases we wonder if we will want to recognize one another. There are people we don’t like here on earth and we don’t want to pal around with them in heaven. Will our pets be in heaven? Will we be surprised who’s there?…..Not the least of whom will be ourselves. Will our scars and our wrinkles be gone? Will we get bored after a while? What will we be doing all the time?
There is no shortage of people purporting to give us answers – psychics, mediums, etc. There are books about near-death experiences. They all promise to give us information about the afterlife.
So it is important to pay careful attention to what Jesus has to say to the Sadducees when they ask about the woman with seven husbands.
Jesus says that their whole question was irrelevant. Why? Because things will be different and people will be different in heaven. Everything will be radically different. So forget about your questions, since heaven is beyond our questions and beyond our imaginations.
Just 200 years ago, our ancestors could not imagine an artificial heart, a television or a computer. So how can we imagine what heaven will be like?
Heaven and eternal life with God is so entirely different, so beyond our present thinking, so full and so rich – that no questions fit. No answer would be understood.
Only one thing counts – that is faith – a faith that does not come from knowing answers to questions about heaven. It’s a faith that comes from knowing and believing in Jesus and trusting him that heaven will be so different than anything we could imagine.
Our faith comes from a trust that Jesus died for our sins and that he loves us beyond all measure and he wants us to be with him forever in heaven. A God Notice
A little girl was walking one night with her father way out in the country. As she looked up into the star-studded sky, her eyes were filled with wonder. Turning to her father, she said: “Daddy, if the wrong side of heaven is so beautiful, what do you think the right side of heaven will be like?”