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July 18, 2008

The light endures

Candle_islet2 We've had a few discussions lately (see here and here) about the Christian concept of the afterlife, and how we often fall short in our attempts to describe it in a way that appeals to the rest of the world.

In that context, I think we can learn something from Michael Novak's short but beautiful tribute to three fellow Christians who recently entered that life:

In Washington this has been a time of candles going out —- three of the most prominent Catholic journalists/literary lights in the nation, Tim Russert, Tony Snow, and Trish [Buckley Bozell] (editor of more than 400 books). One characteristic of all them pointed out again and again: The joy that burst from them, their love for others. That's just about the surest Seal there is, that this is the real thing.

That light endures, even when the candles go out.

If one imagines heaven as the locale of the greatest conversations, most beautiful music, and truest poetry and drama, our friends are adding to its lustre even now.

(Image © Official Tourism Site of Shimane, Japan)

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Rolley Haggard

In his book, "Heaven" (p. 400) Randy Alcorn offers this reflection:

"In this world, even under the curse, human imagination and skill have produced some remarkable works. The statues of Easter Island. Stonehenge. Shakespeare's plays. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The Golden Gate Bridge. Baseball. Heart Transplants. Prenatal surgery. Microwave ovens. DVDs. The Space Shuttle. Chocolate ice cream. Pecan pie. Sports cars. It's a list that never ends.

With the resources God will lavishly give us on the New Earth, what will we be able to accomplish together? When we think about this, we should be like children anticipating Christmas - sneaking out of bed to see what's under the Christmas tree....

I agree with Anthony Hoekema when he says, "The possibilities that now rise before us boggle the mind. Will there be better Beethovens on the new earth? Better Rembrandts, better Raphaels? Shall we read better poetry, better drama, and better prose? Will scientists continue to advance in technological achievement, will geologists continue to dig out the treasures of the earth, and will architects continue to build imposing and attractive structures? Will there be exciting new adventures in space travel? Our culture will glorify God in ways that surpass our most fantastic dreams."

Virtuoso Celtic harp-jazz, I suspect, will be just the beginning of one of the most sublime concerts ever to tickle the ear of mortal -- make that "immortal" -- man.

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