PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE
Occasionally, I look at the beginning process of “America’s Got Talent.” The judges watch the talent and give a pass if the performance is really good. If the person gets that pass there is a big celebration. There’s shouting, dancing, and music as each contestant comes out from the room where he or she performed and tells their waiting parents and friends the good news.
And what is that good news? Why, he or she has made the first pass and that person is GOING TO HOLLYWOOD for the next step in the process of becoming a finalist. The joyful crowd jumps up and down, clapping, shouting, and hugging like they don’t have good sense. They, after all, are GOING TO HOLLYWOOD and everything inside them is dancing. You’d be jumping too, you are convinced, if you knew you were GOING TO HOLLYWOOD!
Or maybe not. Something is wrong with this picture. Going to Hollywood is nothing compared to going to heaven! So, what’s it going to take to bring a repentant sinner to run out of church with this kind of joy? Wouldn’t it be grand if, while you are at the altar taking care of the only truly important business there is, your family and friends are waiting just outside the front door eager to share your great joy that heaven will eventually be your reward?
It’s been said that we have things all wrong down here on earth. We clap when a baby is born and we cry when a person dies. Knowing how difficult this life can be and our great expectation of heaven, we should reverse that order and cry when someone is born and clap when they die. Our clap signifies that the greatest joy we can know is not that we might go to Hollywood, but that indeed we are definitely going to heaven.
So, let’s make that change. Next time you hear of a sinner saved by God’s grace, make a circle around this redeemed and regenerated soul and shout as you sing and twirl. This news is the best news ever!
The thrills of Hollywood pale in comparison with the eternal and never-ending joy of an eternal home! A Christian’s exuberant shout is, “I’M GOING TO HEAVEN!!”
The Rev. B.J. Funk is associate pastor of Central UMC in Fitzgerald. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.