Watching the ceremony unfold, I began to think about our reception in heaven. We, who have pledged allegiance to Jesus, who are considered part of the family and army of God. Those of us who have been asked to put on the full armor of God and always be ready for the spiritual battles we must fight (Ephesians 6:1).
The bible doesn’t reveal all that we will experience when we arrive, but it does tell us a few things.
First, it says there is rejoicing in heaven when a sinner repents (Luke 15:10). The celebration begins before we ever enter the gates of heaven. And that is a huge choir. Remember the shepherds saw only part of it at Christ’s birth: “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared” (Luke 2:13).
Then once we get to heaven, the honors begin.
For those who were “reviled and persecuted” for Christ’s sake, their “reward is great” (Matthew 5:12).
We are also told we will receive a crown: “crown of life” James 1:2, an “unfading crown of glory” I Peter 5:4, and a “crown of righteousness” I Timothy 4:8.
Even our bodies will be honored: “It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory..” (I Corinthians 15:42-43).
And then, of course, there is the great feast that we will all take part in when Christ returns. A banquet beyond human imagination.
The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
And refined, aged wine. Isaiah 25:6
This is the banquet we are celebrating in advance when we take the bread and wine of communion in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice. This is the banquet Jesus was referring to when he said: “I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29).
The celebrations of life and the honors and words of praise we bestow on our loved ones on their passing, along with the receptions we hold in their honor, cannot compare to what God has in store for those who have accepted him and been faithful to him throughout their lives. Though we may sometimes feel we are forgotten or of little importance, nothing could be further from the truth. And there is a God in heaven ready to honor us when we arrive.