Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In our Gospel reading for this week – Jesus tells his disciples – “Do not let your hearts be troubled . . . In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.” Next Jesus boldly declares – “I am going to prepare a place for you. Then I will come back and take you to be with me.”
What wonderful words of hope and comfort! What an incredibly awesome promise! And the Good News for us is Jesus wasn’t just talking to his disciples. Jesus makes this promise to each and every one of you too.
Jesus has gone to prepare a place just for you in heaven. And Jesus tells us – that this place Jesus is preparing for you in heaven will be as unique as you are. Jesus is going to prepare a special place just for you in heaven!
Heaven is not going to be a boring – impersonal place where everyone’s home looks exactly the same. Jesus is not going to assign you to some generic – one size fits all – dorm room like I moved into my freshman year of college. Where everyone’s room was exactly the same right down to the towel rack by the sink. Instead when you get to heaven – Jesus is going to welcome you to a home he has prepared just for you. With you in mind. With you in Jesus’ heart . . .
What do you think your heavenly home will look like? Have you ever tried to imagine your heavenly home? Sometimes just for fun – I try to imagine what heaven is going to be like.
Perhaps your heavenly home will sparkle with your favorite color. Maybe it will overflow with your favorite flowers. Perhaps your favorite books will line the walls. Or maybe your favorite music will fill the air. Will your favorite artwork cover the walls? (I so hope that my heavenly home is filled with yarn – lots and lots of gorgeous yarn!)
We can’t really know what heaven will be like. It is impossible for us even to imagine someplace that is really and truly perfect. Nothing in this broken – sinful – messed up world can really prepare us for perfection. So – for now – all we can do is wonder – and hope and dream. And wait and wonder and hope and dream some more.
But we do know Jesus has promised us heaven is going to be completely and utterly awesome. And we know that we will be with our Lord who loves us with a perfectly perfect love. You also know that your heavenly home will be a perfect fit.
When I hear these promises from Jesus – I am reminded of the way my mother-in-law always gets ready for a family gathering at her house in Tennessee. Linda makes absolutely – positively certain that she prepares for each and every one of us. Linda doesn’t forget or overlook anyone. She doesn’t pick favorites. The pantry literally groans with the bounty of her unconditional love every single time our family gathers together. She is prepared for all of us. No one is overlooked. She even remembers her annoying in-laws.
There is ice cream for the grandkids – in each of their favorite flavors – of course.
There are hippy-dippy foods for Jason and me.
The special coffee creamer that my brother-in-law loves is in the refrigerator.
Bob’s peanuts and his Coke Zero. Bella’s hot dogs. Nic’s cheez-its. Will’s nuggets. Jack’s jerky. Elizabeth’s coffee. It is all there. And that doesn’t even count the provisions she lays in for our family meals.
Linda must start days before she heads for the mountains to be ready for all 10 of us and our unique personality quirks and picky preferences.
And she is always – always more than ready for all of us. No matter how long we are there – whether we are there for a week or a weekend. Linda is ready to make us all feel loved and welcome and treasured.
It is like being wrapped in a loving – warm hug. It has a way of reminding all of us of our place in our family and in the world. Seeing my favorite tea in the pantry next to Nic’s Cheez-its and Bob’s peanuts and Jack’s jerky always makes me smile. It reminds that I am loved – that we are all so very – very loved – and that we all belong to and in this wild and wonderful family.
These sorts of moments in our lives give us just a small glimpse of what heaven is going to be like. Of the way that our Lord and Savior loves us.
Your heavenly home is being prepared by someone who knows you better than you know yourself. By someone who knows how many hairs you have on your head and the dreams you carry in your heart. By someone who knows what makes your heart sing and what fills you with joy. You are God’s beloved child. God knows you and loves you and has prepared the perfect place for you in his heavenly kingdom.
As important as it is that Jesus has prepared a home just for you – there is something even more important for you to know about heaven. Jesus wants to prepare a perfect heavenly home for everyone who has ever lived and will ever live.
Everyone is welcome in heaven. Everyone belongs there. God wants all of his beloved children to spend eternity with him in paradise. There is room for everyone in heaven. Heaven can never be too full. There are no limits on how many people heaven can hold, and there are no limits on how many children our heavenly Father can love.
There is always room for one more.
This makes me think of a family making room for new members whether it be through birth or adoption or marriage or friendship. We always seem to manage to shove over – squeeze in – find another chair in the basement – add another leaf to the table and make room in our lives and in our hearts for another person to love and to share a laugh with. To share this life with.
If an earthly family can do this just imagine how welcoming our heavenly family will be!
When Jesus said to his disciples – “in God’s house – there are many dwelling places.” Jesus was reaching his arms around all of God’s beloved children and saying – “there is a place for you. Young or old or somewhere in the middle. Butcher – baker or candlestick maker. Sinner and saint. Lutheran – Catholic – or Baptist. Questioner – doubter – denier. Whoever you may be – there is room for you in heaven. God’s love and grace truly know no limits!”
There will always be a perfect place in heaven and love in God’s heart for each and every one of you. Truly this is Good News – AMEN.