In heaven I hope to spend part of the time eating ice cream, part of the time oil painting with Winston Churchill, part of the time singing my glorified lungs out in a gospel choir, and part of the time throwing dinner parties. All this, of course, after a thousand years or so worshipping at the white throne.
Everyone, in my opinion, should have their own feeble dreams about heaven and what they will do there. God made us all desire in unique ways, made us all flame up to a different set of delights. Those deep delights on earth deserve careful attention, as they point beyond themselves to paradise.
Our little church is so flu-ridden this week we had to ax the Wednesday prayer meeting. Our Facebook updates read like the messages from Job’s servants: “Mom is sick, dad is sick, sisters are sick, babies are sick, the pastor is sick. Only I have escaped to tell you.”
In the midst of this, my dad and I sat on the couch thinking about heaven. “No more colds,” he said. “No more little bugs that spread diseases.”
That is true enough. The reverse of the curse will affect us deeper than we can fathom. No inconvenience, no lethargy, no prescriptions, no itches where you can’t scratch, no funerals, no overeating, no getting too cold, no paper cuts. That overwhelms me in itself—and then I start to think of the heavenly dinner party.
I learned to cook very willfully at about the age of 12 because I thought I was destined to marry a pastor. And as everybody knows, no pastor would marry a girl who can’t cook. I began with bread and branched into soup. I threw cabbages and carrots and who knows what into a big pot and fed the hunters who came in for lunch. A traveling woman passed through and taught me how to make a roux, confirming my belief that you can construct a masterpiece with whatever sparse mysteries the refrigerator secretes. I worked for five years in a fine dining restaurant, where I learned that in cooking the eye matters as much as the tongue. I grew to loathe the words “follow the recipe.”
It is so sad to me that you cannot have the whole universe over to dinner while you live on earth, that every evening your little house can’t boom with the noise of the near-and-far neighbors. It seems sad that somehow over food all the stories can’t connect together.
I am even sad when I read the WORLD commenters and understand they are too far away to invite to dinner. Imagine if they could make it to our New York woods for a dinner party. My border collie Jack would attend—bark them all up the driveway—and I would make bread bowls and soup and light candles. I would wear the crooked apron I sewed myself and never tell them they had to take off their shoes.
In some way incredible to think on, God sees and directs all our stories at once. At the grand finish, when we finally get to meet, a party of some magnitude will be in order. Consider this your formal invitation.