Today (Saturday) I officiated at a wedding for an young Indonesian woman and an young American Samoan man. Some of the service was in Batak (a dialect of Indonesian) and some of it in English. It was a very beautiful ceremony and I was honored to be a small part of it.
It was also interesting in that I knew what was going on – for the most part. But the language differences still kept us apart on some things. We had a little stumbling here and there because I didn’t understand – and wasn’t understood – at times.
But in the end it didn’t really matter. We all knew what we were there for – to celebrate God’s gift of marriage to two people. And that is exactly what we ended up doing.
I can’t help but think of heaven. Heaven will not be a place where there is only one kind of people all speaking the same language. Heaven will be a place with people of all languages, tribes, nations, and races. We’ll all be different but with one important commonality – Jesus Christ died to save all of us from our sins.
Here on earth, it tends to be bad things that unite people. This morning (Saturday) there was a big earthquake in the center of the nation of Chile. Like the Haitian earthquake a few weeks ago and the hurricanes in the U.S. a few years ago, these natural disaster united the peoples of different languages and nations – united to help the victims. And that is a wonderful thing in response to something very bad.
In heaven, however, so many different people will also be united. But this time we will be united by something very good.
In heaven there will be no more tears, death, mourning, crying, or pain (Rev. 21:4). We will not be united around a disaster but around a miracle. We will be united by the miracle of our salvation by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We will be united to sing our praise to God for this salvation. We will live forever in a new heaven and new earth. Life will be eternal. Life will be good.