ultimate bridal suite | John 14.1-4
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” John 14:1-4 | ESV
“Relax! Don’t let your hearts get so stressed out. Lean hard into God with all you’ve got; and while you’re at it, lean hard into me. You’re afraid we’ve reached a dead end? We haven’t. We’re talking my Father’s house here – and there’s all kinds of space. If there weren’t, I’d level with you – because the fact is I’m going to prepare the ultimate bridal suite for you. And, as any bride knows, if the groom is off to prepare the ultimate bridal suite, then you know that I’m coming back for you so we can be together, you and me. Don’t look so lost. You know the way to where I’m going.” MAV
“I’ve got a mansion, just over the hilltop, in that bright land where we’ll never grow old, and some day yonder we’ll never more wander but walk the streets that are purest gold.”
The hymn track is burned into my brain. It’s inspired, no doubt, by the classic King James rendering of these words in John 14, “in my Father’s house there are many mansions.” Images of Hearst Castle in California. Oh yeah, I suppose we would serve God for one of those. All mine. My own.
I’m reminded of the story about the angel carrying a bucket of water and a torch. He was asked by a fellow angel, “What are you doing with the bucket and the torch?” Answer: “With the water I’m going to drown the fires of hell, and with the torch I’m going to burn down the mansions of heaven. Then we’ll see who will serve God simply because they love him.”
“Mansions” is an unfortunate translation for us.
It is a “room,” an “abiding place.”
Jesus’ imagery connects with the marriage customs of the day. The groom places a cup before the prospective bride – it’s his proposal – which proposal she accepts by drinking it. And then she waits, and he prepares. He goes home and begins adding a room unto his father’s house – their “abiding place” together. And Dad will tell him when he’s done and when he can go get his bride.
It’s a picture that speaks of family connection and fellowship and intimacy, not isolated real estate and wealth and private property.
Personally, I’m counting on introvert space in the new heavens and new earth, such as I enjoy right now on this patio writing these words. But the conviviality we enjoy in the upper room here and now only reflects the joyous interactions and intimacies in the many rooms awaiting us in that mother of all bridal suites.
When you contemplate “heaven” what images come to your mind? How real is heaven to you – or is it more of a “pie in the sky by and by” sort of thing for you? Why?
Lord, revive my stressed out heart with fresh glimpses of the new heavens and new earth that even now is breaking into this world, breaking into my stress and mess. Help me to see it, sense it, feel it, and to move with its rhythms. Take me there. Through Christ.