Have you had a glimpse of Paradise? The word actually comes from a Greek term for garden. In biblical tradition we might think of the Garden of Eden as the original paradise, a place most of us would long to see and perhaps live.
The New Testament gives us some striking images of heaven and eternal life. In the book of Revelation, the story culminates in a vision of the New Jerusalem that fulfills the paradise of Eden, a place overflowing with the presence of God, a city of unsurpassed splendor, a place where the faithful can live without fear or insecurity.
The promise of a life in paradise has touched people of faith for millennia. Art, music and literature have always been drawn to this intriguing subject, giving us rich and inviting images of unsurpassed beauty. Recent books on the subject abound, including the popular movie Heaven is for Real about a child’s near death experience and introduction to heaven.
This Sunday we’ll talk about a glimpse of paradise. I was intrigued with author Dan Brown’s book, Inferno, published last year, a thriller of sorts, built around Dante’s image of paradise and hell from his epic poem, The Divine Comedy. We’ll explore a bit of how this popular author touches the biblical images and Dante’s imaginative work. Most of us carry great hopes for eternal life. I like how Ecclesiastes says God “has also set eternity in the human heart…” (3:10), which I think is very true. We need to touch the reality of eternity from time to time and let it grow our hopefulness and confidence in the future life God has for us. When we deal with death and tragedy we want to know there is more to life than this material existence. I think, most deeply, we long for a lasting spiritual life, where faith defines who we are and our relationships.
Worship with us Sunday as we see how God has put eternity in our own hearts.