Sunday, May 28, 2006

Adventures in Heaven

Friday night, My First Wife and I happened to stop at an attractive little neighborhood park over in The Big City. It’s a romantic, out-of-the-way little place. There’s a bandstand in that park and an ancient stone building that’s been converted into a mini-museum. Lots of shade and plenty of grass, a short walking path, some tables, some benches and working potties. Who could ask for anything more?

But Friday night there was an unusual number of people milling around the bandstand. “Shabbat in the Park” their sign said. This looked interesting, so after a walk around the path, we decided to stay.

Pretty soon, some happy Jewish music started. There was singing, dancing and praising the Lord. I couldn’t understand a word except “Alleluia!” and “Amen!” That was good enough for me. I found myself raising my hands to music I had never heard before, in a language I couldn’t understand. I wonder if Heaven will be like that.

We were well-greeted by several members of a Messianic Congregation. One lady was kind enough to sit with us and explain anything we needed. “We’re Believers,” she called themselves. Other members floated among the crowd doing the same thing.

“This is our way of ministering in the community,” they said. They shared their food with everyone; broken bits of bread, plastic cups of grape juice; a spoonful of nuts and stuff…

“What’s this, manna?” I wise-cracked. “It’s Trail Mix,” the man said.

I was impressed with the mixed Congregation. Red and Yellow, Black and White—and Hispanic, too. American Jews. Elderly European Jews. Latin Jews. Gentiles—like me and My First Wife. Of course, kids all over the place. Heaven will be like that.

Afterward, we crossed paths with some frisky newly-weds who had just bought a house across the street. They seemed terribly excited. Well, why not? They had just moved here all the way from Virginia and were hungry for friendship. They were anxious for us to tell them all about The Big City. We started to, but a bunch of mosquitoes ganged up on us. We traded phone numbers and promised to meet them there next Friday—before Shabbat in the Park.

Friday evening at sunset, a little bit of heaven visited that neighborhood park. It was nice. We relaxed. We met some new friends. We had a few delightful moments of personal worship—unlike we’d ever had before. Heaven will be like that

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