A few months ago, I saw this tweet.
And I have to say that initially I really didn’t like it at all.
Before I tell you why, a quick explanatory note for the non-baseball folks reading this. A “walk-off home run” is when a batter hits a home run that ends a game. This only happens in the bottom of the last inning. The home run drives in the game winning run, and since it’s the last inning, there is no need for the game to progress. It’s called a “walk-off” because as the jubilant victorious team rushes the field in celebration, the defeated team walks off the field. I’ve been on both sides, and for completely different reasons, there’s nothing like either one.
So back to the tweet. I didn’t like it because when I read “hitters rounding third base,” the picture I had in my mind was something like this.
And I just didn’t like that as “an image of heaven.” Sure, the player is excited and happy, but the idea of the lone baserunner just didn’t sit well with me as “an image of heaven.”
Then I clicked the link to the picture embedded in the tweet. (Yes, I had my initial thought, but I reserved further judgment until I had clicked the link, read the whole article, etc., but that’s a discussion for another day.) When I did, this picture popped up.
And then I got it. Then the tweet made sense, and then I have to say I teared up a bit because this is “an image of heaven.” I mean, look at everything that is going on. The jubilant home run hitter can’t wait to get home to his teammates! His coach is thrilled and so proud of him. The team is losing their minds waiting to greet their brother. Then look in the stands. Look as an entire community rejoices! Arms raised in triumph, smiles, hugs, probably some tears and no doubt high-fives exchanged by complete strangers. A joyous community welcoming an individual home.
Yep, that’s heaven.
But you don’t have to wait until you pass from this life to experience it. Heaven is Heaven because it’s where God is and it’s where His people gather in His presence. This happens in churches every Sunday. It happens in campus ministries throughout the week. It happens in small group Bible studies, house-churches, and impromptu prayer gatherings. At CCF it happens on Thursdays at 6:45. If you’re a college student in Athens, I hope you’ll join us this semester at the big blue house on Milledge.
Regardless of where you are, I hope you will find a Christian community. I community that will welcome you like you just hit a walk-off homer – a community that will be home.