In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain writes of an encounter between the Christian spinster, Miss Watson lecturing Huck about the error of his fun loving spirit. According to Huck, “She went on and told me all about the good place. She said all a body would have to do there was go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I didn’t think much of it…. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she said not by a considerable sight. I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be together.”
Clemens and his character Huck Finn, unfortunately entertained a notion about our Christian picture of Heaven that is far more commonplace than we might imagine… even today. It is a picture we must refocus, first inside ourselves and then in how we communicate it to a lost world.
Our world needs a new vision to live for, a Heaven to anticipate, an end to life that is truly not an end. Just this morning, I read that the CDC has released statistics showing an alarming an unexplained increase in suicide among white, middle-aged Americans. We need hope that is robust and sturdy for this kind of world!
In his book simply entitled Heaven, author Peter Kreeft offers this critique:
Our pictures of Heaven simply do not move us… it is… our pictures of Heaven and of God that most potently threaten our faith today. Our pictures of Heaven are dull, platitudinous, syrupy; therefore so is our faith, our hope, and our love of Heaven.
It is surely a satanic triumph of the first order to have taken the fascination out of a doctrine that must either be a fascinating fact or a fascinating lie… If it’s dull, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a dull truth or a dull lie. Dullness, no doubt, is the strongest enemy of faith.
Sadly, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) himself died believing this “dull, platitudinous, and syrupy” picture of the afterlife that left him cold and wanting none of it.
And if that’s what I believed, I could understand why.
FOR MEMORIZATION: You have come to Mt Zion….and thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful celebration…..” Hebrews 12:22
FOR REFLECTION: If you’re low on hope today, meditate upon your heavenly home. God wants us to take time to do just that… and refill our hope as we do.