This "Vital Worship" feature story, "Eschatology: Our hope for a new heaven and new earth
," posted at the website of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
, where I work
, discusses my book and includes comments from two key readers, Laura Truax
and Judy Congdon
, on the implications of eschatology for worship. It also includes a profile of a scholar of liturgy and eschatology in the Reformed tradition: Martha Moore-Keish. The article begins with a thorough and helpful rundown of heaven-minded lyrics in well-known hymns.
Eschatology: Our hope for a new heaven and new earth
Text by Joan Huyser-Honig
Photography by Steve Huyser-Honig
Print this story for study and discussion
How does your story fit into God’s story? The way you answer this question likely influences what you believe about heaven. And your view of heaven makes a big difference in how you live and worship.
Jerusalem the Golden, with milk and honey blest. Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more. When the hungry gather for the feast, we will rejoice. Lord, I want to be in that number.
I'll sing with a glittering crown on my brow. How lovely is your dwelling place. Here from all nations, all tongues, and all peoples. Rest, eternal, grant them, Lord. Those endless Sabbaths the blessed ones see. Finish, then, thy new creation…
Composers have been writing songs about heaven for centuries. Yet, according to pollster George Barna, the more income or education you have, the less likely you are to believe that heaven or hell exists. Even among Christians who say they believe in heaven, there's wide disagreement on what that means. Most Christians, including preachers, stay away from the topic.
And that's a shame, because without a vivid sense of God's future, you're missing out on a great blessing of Christian life—and great opportunities to bless other lives.
In his book Bringing Heaven Down to Earth: Connecting This Life to the Next, Nathan Bierma discusses the difference between small gospel and big gospel perspectives.