One night a few years a go we had a baptism service in which we witnessed an Egyptian, a Brazilian and an American being baptized one after another. It was an awesome experience seeing that three of the continents were being represented in our tiny church. In fact if you were to come and visit in their homes you would discover that though we all fellowship together, our worlds are quite different from one another. Meat and potatoes gives way to spicy rice and flat bread, to black beans, rice and yucca. Though you might discover a thousand small things that separate us from each other we are all here together in America.
That is the same idea behind Paul’s statement of citizenship in his letter from prison to his good friends back in Philippi. He wants us all to remember that no matter where we are from, we are all one day going to cross the frontier into our own nation where Jesus rules as king! In spite of the suffering that Paul was experiencing down here, he knew that the day was coming when the struggles of life would be a distant memory.
We all have the tendency to long for the familiar things that comfort us and give us a sense of our identity. When we travel in another country we often experience that uneasy feeling that something is not quite right. Something is missing and out-of-place until we go home. That is the same longing that God has planted in each of our hearts for Heaven.
Every time a loved one dies, when we cringe at the suffering of a child, or hear on the news another tragedy something in our hearts says, “But it won’t be like that when we go home!” Heaven is the place where God will wipe away every tear. Heaven is where the thief cannot break in. Heaven is where no one will hunger, grow old or be diagnosed with cancer. Heaven is where we will sit at the table will our King and see the face of Jesus. Heaven is our true homeland. We will cross the border into a kingdom where our names have already been recorded in the book. We will move into a home that Jesus has prepared for us. We will open a strangely familiar door to a place we have never seen and discover that it is the place where we have always belonged!