“Heaven is a wonderful place filled with glory and grace. I want to see my Savior's face 'cause heaven is a wonderful place,” was a line from a song that was burned into my mind by my toddler daughter (she's 43 now and I still haven't forgotten it). I was the youth and children's pastor in a church in South Florida (insanity caused me to leave). For our kid's Bible club we often sang songs from the Psalty, the Singing Songbook, collection. “Heaven Is a Wonderful Place” was a favorite of the kids and soon became engraved in my brain. You may even see me singing it as a cruise through town. It is brought to mind for a few reasons.
One, I still like it. Two, our little section of Iowa reminds me of some of key theological elements of Heaven. Not only is Heaven filled with our departed loved ones who are waiting to greet us when we get there. I'm in no hurry but I can't wait to play in a my first heavenly ballgame. Rumor is that I bat clean-up tomorrow. That's an old joke. I probably should have kept that one in the vault of groaners. You see, if you are a believer then the moment you take your last breath here on earth is the moment you wake up in the presence of Jesus. Not a bad exchange, huh? There surrounding Him will be those loved ones. Some we lost too early and we can say all the things we wanted to say. If there were tears in heaven, which there aren't, I would weep when I saw my mother. Gladbrook reminds me of that.
Everywhere I go someone is greeting me. I've been here since Easter and I already know and see a barrage of warm, happy faces. That is a heavenly characteristic. I've learned to just wave to everyone, smile, nod and ask how folks are doing. That's our small town Iowa way. Hometown Market takes me twice as long to get through because of the greetings and the meetings. It is heavenly to say the least. Heaven has another theological characteristic that I see when I roam the town (not a long stroll but a fun one). God, the Father, has restricted all sin, all badness, all meanness from getting inside the gates of Heaven (which really are pearls). Therefore, Heaven is filled with goodness. That was one of the first things I noticed about our corner of the world. People choose to do good things. Every good project is met by hard work and the desire to do what is good and what is right. My day begins with good people. I meet with good people. I shop with good people. I have fun (socially distanced fun at all times) with good people.It only took me a few months to realize that God had called me to a little slice of Heaven. Now it is my job to make sure that more people discover the pathway to the final destination of the real Heaven. Why? Because Heaven is a wonderful place.