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Comparing Two Kingdoms

 

Ok, this may result in my total readership from SBC churches going down to one (me!), but here goes:

Without trying to sound trite or blasphemous, I had this recurring meme that kept occuring to me throughout my week earlier this month at Disney World:  How is the Magic Kingdom like Christ’s kingdom?  Is there a faint echo, a slight shadow in the house of Mouse pointing toward our eternal home?

Yes, I know that God’s presence is what will define heaven more than anything else, but God’s presence will mean that heaven will be some of the following things as well, which Mickey has just a little bit of too:

  • Beauty: The Big D really is beautiful, especially the quiet spots in Animal Kingdom.  I think all places of natural beauty can make us think of the beauty that awaits us in our eternal home.
  • Perfection: O Yes, there’s plenty of things not perfect at Disney World, but they really do try to be fanatical about everything being just so, as much as you can be in a place that has tens of thousands of jostling people spilling through every day.  They know that people come to expect having that experience and they try to deliver.  Think about what it will be to be eternally in absolute unalterable perfection all around you, to the minutest detail!
  • Celebration: what’s Disney without a parade?  or without some really bad-for-you caloric consumption?  It just wouldn’t be the same! Heaven will be the ultimate celebration, the marriage supper of the Lamb, and it will be a blast!
  • Adventure & Wonder: Disney reminds me of Lewis’ description of heaven in The Last Battle, a place of adventure and wonder which will be inexhaustible, eternal and always expanding.
  • Community: Now think about this one—isn’t a lot of the fun of Disney seeing the faces of your family and even total strangers smiling? What if you were the only one in the park?  I mean, not having any line at Space Mountain would be cool the first dozen times through, but to be alone even in a place like Disney would soon wear thin.  It is meant to be enjoyed in community, just like heaven will be so much richer as we enjoy perfect community with all the saints.
  • Joy: what’s the end of beauty, perfection, celebration, adventure, & community?  It’s joy.  And that’s what Disney does in the heart of a child (even a 42 year old one!), and I do think it is a taste, albeit a very small, imperfect one, of the joy that awaits me not many years hence.

So, what do you think?  Am I a full-blown heretic, or just plain nuts, or am I seeing here something worth savoring while we wait for eternity?

 

Trapped by “The Future that Never Was”

When DisneyWorld updated Tomorrowland in 1994, they billed it as “The Future that Never Was”.

Could that old tagline be trapping you now?

How often are our dreams, aspirations, or promises for the kingdom of God trapped by such a tagline?

I think it best pictured by the old story about a Christian who was taking a transatlantic ocean liner to Africa 100 years ago, when the trip took several weeks. He soon realized that only he and another young couple were committed Christians, and he thought about maybe starting a worship service or Bible study on the ship. The young couple seemed uninterested, though; they were missionaries, and they were intently studying for when they got to Africa.

The irony that was lost on them should not be lost on us. In their dreams of accomplishing something great for God in the future, the young couple had lost sight of where God had sovereignly and providentially placed them that very day.

And so it is with us. God has sovereignly and providentially placed us where we are today, for a reason, for the kingdom. If we think, “I’ll do something great for God once I get to Africa”, we forget that we do not have tomorrow, God has granted us today. Tomorrow is in God’s hands, and very likely will turn out at least a little different than what we plan.

Once I get that raise, then I will be able to give to the church. Once we have children we can volunteer for the church nursery. Once I retire I will go on a missions trip. Once the kids are older I will teach a Sunday School class. All of those dreams are well and good, and God may grant or choose not to grant them, but are you focusing all you are on today, and what fields are white for harvest today?

The other “future that never was” trap is the choice not made, the situation that isn’t reality. If I hadn’t gotten that divorce God could use me. If I had taken that job in Chicago I could be attending seminary classes now. If my spouse were more godly we could do this and that. In our disillusionment or even bitterness over a situation of our making or of God’s providence, we shelve ourselves because our current place in the kingdom is not the place where we want to be. Here again humility and trust in God’s perfect providence delivers us from being trapped.

What trap do you need to escape from today? What place in the kingdom needs you, where you are now, today?