I am a parish minister currently serving the Eliot Church of Natick MA. Eliot Church is a Community Church affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. Any statements made and postions held in "Unity," however, are solely mine(of course, they may be used with appropriate atribution). Therefore if you disagree, please do not blame the church!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

What is Heaven?

What is Heaven? What does it look like? How will I while away eternity? I mean, does it ever get dull? Am I the only religious liberal who asks these questions? I think not! In spite of our best efforts to be the-faith-which-is-concerned-with-this-life, we are still human. It is a fine thing to worry about who we are and how we act right now on earth, but most human beings do wonder about death.

I readily admit that I do not know much for certain in this area. However, I have been thinking about it a great deal. For me, some of the best analogies to heaven have to do with eating. If I were in charge of such things, Heaven would be a place like Carmine’s, where everyone talks at once and the food excellent. Or like the Crab Deck, where everyone talks at once, the food is excellent in its own way, there is football on the TV over the bar and, Yuengling is served in plastic cups (the sunset can be fabulous, too). Obviously, Heaven wouldn’t be any fun without family and friends (and the Pats), so maybe it is a catered event?

Now, I know that theologically there are problems here. There is the whole bodily resurrection thing, for example. Is Heaven wired for cable? Even the St. Peter + harp-player-on-cloud plan doesn’t really make much room for appetizers! Still, if Heaven is a place where we feel connected and happy. If it is a good place that brings us closer to God, then quality dining is a metaphor that works for me. What works for you? I know that there are those who would say prayer or worship provide those peak experiences. There are others who are impressed by the majesty of the sea or the purple mountain majesty. Is heaven an instant, as Julia Sweeney’s priest suggests in God Said "Ha"?

All interesting stuff, I think. Who knows where we will end up in the end...