Thursday, April 10, 2014

Will there be tennis in heaven?

Over Easter I'll be in Ipswich taking part in the first tournament of the year for me. It would be nice to think that this year I might make some progress and win a few matches. I have no expectations of winning any tournaments, but a match or tow wouldn't go amiss!

The other day, while speaking at church, I jokingly suggested that if there wasn't going to be the chance to play tennis in heaven I wasn't sure I wanted to go! To which someone replied that it would be boring because it would be just one long rally because no one would miss. That made me laugh but also go me thinking. To what do we really owe our concept of heaven?

Either we se heaven as some sort of idealised paradise based on some utopian world, or we seem to see it as one long worship event. We'll wander around with sickly sweet smiles on faces, living out an eternal version of a Star Trek episode where we're all happy and have rejected technology to live in simplicity in a temperate climate where time is no longer relevant.

But is that really what it will be like? If all we are going to do all day is sing then I for one will need a much better voice than Currently possess. i know God loves a joyful noise, but surely even he would baulk at it for all eternity!

Too often our view of heaven is based on an assumption of a return to the garden ideal. I'm not sure that's how it will be. On the other hand, I don't know much more than that it will be a place where God dwells among his people and that the old order of things will have passed away. But what belongs to that old order? John tells us that it has to do with things like dying, mourning, crying and pain. So, my knees and back might not ache, but does it mean that technology will disappear and that sport will become a distant memory.

I'm not so sure.

For what it's worth, if there is the opportunity to play tennis in heaven I think my backhand will still need work and that playing it will still be just as difficult then as it is now. Heaven won't be some stylised paradise where nothing goes awry and mistakes don't happen. It will be a place where we have learned to live in true relationship with the God who loves us. A place not marred by sin and fallen human characteristics but defined by the character of God expressed through the people who dwell there.

Perhaps I will finally be able to see in colour and without glasses, but if I'm still chromatically challenged and short-sighted then who cares. I'm not seeking perfection, I'm seeking God.

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