Sunday, May 1, 2011

Why Is Your Heaven So Small?

Who is going to heaven? Moses? Jesus? Muhammad? Mohandas Gandhi? Albert Einstein? Martin Luther King Jr.? Mother Teresa? You? Me? Do we have to believe certain things before we can get into heaven? Do we have to pray in a specific way? Do we have to eat in particular way? Do we have to be "perfect"? Do we have to be on the "right" team (Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish, etc.)?

It seems like there are so many angry voices that make quick judgements about who is going to heaven - and who is not. These folks say that if the rest of us aren't like them, then we're going to hell. According to this argument, God likes the same people as them - and also hates the same people. It's like the ultimate trump card in the game of "who's right." I'd like to declare an end to that game.

Why call an end to the "heaven-is-for-people-like-me-game"? First of all, heaven shouldn't be used in such a manipulative way. Second, they don't get to decide what heaven is - and who gets in. Third, God is the only one who is able to pass final judgement. And, finally, God judges us through a lens of love.

According to the Scripture that I read, God is love - not exclusivity. For example, I John 4:7-8 says: "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love." Plus, in Psalm 108:8, it says: "God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." So God isn't some cocky junior high kid running a popularity contest. Or some judgemental fundamentalist pontificating about the evils of other people. Or some angry atheist declaring that everyone else is wrong. Instead, God is love. Abounding is steadfast love. And in God's house "there are many rooms" (John 14:2). Room enough for people like Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Mohandas Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, you, and me. There is even enough room for those who would argue that there isn't enough room. Heaven doesn't have to be so small.

Sometimes music says it better than words alone. So here is a great song by Susan Werner called "Why is Your Heaven so Small?" The lyrics are below the video. Enjoy!

excuse me sir, what did you say?
when you shout so loud, it's hard to tell
you say that i must change my ways
for i am surely bound to hell

well i know you'd damn me if you could
but my friend, that's simply not your call
if god is great and god is good
why is your heaven so small

you say you know you say you've read
that holy bible up on your shelf
do you recall when jesus said
judge not, lest ye be judged yourself

for i know you'd damn me if you could
but my friend, that's simply not your call
if god is great, and god is good
why is your heaven so small

with your fists that shake, and your eyes that burn
what makes you do these things you do?
i would not be surprised to learn
someone somewhere excluded you

but my friend, imagine it if you would
a love much mightier than us all
o if god is great and god is good
why is your heaven
so small


  1. beautiful and uplifting! really enjoyed it! :)

  2. Thank you for sharing. Our message today, was just this and I would like to join you in your declaration of end to the game as well.