We were watching the 80’s movie “A Field Of Dreams” the other night. If you know the movie you may recall the first time shoeless Joe Jackson comes to the field built for him and his “Black Socks” buddies, he asks if the field is heaven? Ray responds, “No, this is Iowa.”
Now I must confess I have not been to Iowa. I have flown over it lots of times, but I don’t think I have ever been there on the ground. I know several people from Iowa including our former Bishop, Bishop Kiesey. Now I don’t know if Bishop Kiesey considers Iowa heaven or not. I suspect her sights are a little higher. But I love the idea that heaven is for one person a great gift, for another even a hint of heaven, may be just ordinary and routine perhaps even, in some cases, distasteful. All of us have stuff like this, on both ends of the spectrum. I have friends who call the Upper Peninsula “God’s country.” I have been there four times and I laughingly tell people, that was three times too many!”
These things happen in all kinds of ways and venues. Some people like the out of doors, some enjoy the view from the hotel balcony. Some find images of heaven in travel and meeting all sorts of people from all sorts of places and others bask in the warmth of home all their lives.
The same thing happens in the church. Everyone has their idea of what ideal worship is like. I see it all the time. People tell me all the time what church should be like. They share what constitutes the perfect worship experience, they share with me their vision of just what the perfect church is according to their wants and desires. And too often like all these other things I mentioned just about the time they share their vision of what “heavenly” worship is all about another person scowls and proclaims something very different as their supreme image. Sorting through those differences and trying to address the needs of every person is impossible. That’s why we have a variety of worship styles and a variety of churches. And it’s also the source of far too many battles over the “right” way to do and be the church and worship God.
Ultimately though the worship that is actually “heavenly” worship is spelled out pretty clearly in Scripture. “Those that worship God must worship in Spirit and in Truth.” You see it has nothing to do with style or content or anything else except our hearts offered faithful to God. May that always be our “heavenly” worship.