My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
John 14.2 (NIV)
It amazes me how often clergy repeat words in worship without really getting to grips with them. I include myself in this accusation. A point brought home to me when I realised that at every funeral service, I quote Christ saying – ‘in my father’s house there are many rooms’.
But what does this mean?
Does it suggest that there is space in heaven for all faiths and none?
Does it propose that there is a place for every human being?
In fact, is it a statement of the infinity of God’s kingdom?
Now that would be hard to imagine.
When I go into schools to answer their students’ religious questions, top of the list is – what is heaven like? I have got a series of replies. However, I am never sure I have convinced an iPhone focused generation of any destination without social media. Older enquirers too just can’t get their imaginations around the essentially unimaginable and let scepticism rule the day. Heaven then seems to have too many hoped for manifestations that it just could not exist. But maybe that was exactly what Jesus was meaning when he was talking of the multitude of rooms.
So, while we all are entitled to our expectations of heaven, it might be better to think less of them. Instead, faith would be better aimed at the next line I recite at funerals For Jesus then goes onto say – ‘and I will come and take you to be with me’.
For living in the presence of Christ is what we truly should build our hopes on and savour forever.