Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is Heaven the Last Stop, or Something More?

When I was growing up, we lived two blocks away from a station on the Long Island Railroad. All of the trains on the LIRR travel back and forth from New York City to the 'burbs of Long Island. It's possible to take the train to other places along the various branches, but the whole thing is designed for just one purpose, really, and that's to get Long Island commuters into the city and home again. You got on the train nearest your home, and disembarked at Penn Station.

My father didn't work in the city; he drove to work, heading east in the morning and missing the heavy traffic again in the evening as he came home. So while the railroad was an ever-present feature in our community, we rarely had cause to use it ourselves. In fact, I think I was in high school before I ever had a ride on a train.

I'm rambling, but my point is that you take a train to get somewhere. Obviously. It is rare (not unheard of, but exceptional) that someone gets on a train just to travel to the station at the end of the route. Once the passengers get off the train, they leave the station and head off to other places. They will pursue business objectives, visit friends or relatives, enjoy the opera, a Broadway show, or one of the city's museums- they will carry on with whatever their purpose was for being in the city that day.

Sometimes I forget that heaven is not the "last stop." We don't get off and sit in the station. Heaven is LIFE- Jesus said He came that we "might have life, and that more abundantly." That abundant life begins when we enter in to the relationship with Jesus, but it continues, and when what we call "this life" is over, it just gets better. Sin and death are removed from the picture, and we live forever to glorify God. I don't know exactly what that means, but I believe there is much more to that life than sitting in a railroad terminal!

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