I had been warned. Her husband was the church organist, so she naturally sympathized with his views on what was appropriate church music. I was a relatively new pastor, and one day she handed me a cartoon she had clipped out of a magazine. It depicted a white-robed saint amidst fluffy clouds, but this saint, newly arrived in heaven, looked baffled and confused because he did not know where to plug in his synthesizer. And that was just the point—there would not be any synthesizers in heaven. Reflecting on the source of the cartoo
I barely remember my several years as a teenager being a part of the Youth Sabbath School at the Walla Walla Seventh-day Adventist Church. But a few things that I do remember include the young and earnest youth leader, the bright fabric on the pews, and how I often used to sit in or near the back every Sabbath that my family attended.
In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonian church, Paul responds in 4:13-17 to their deep concern about those in their midst who had died. Just as Jesus died and was resurrected, Paul argues, so also would believers from their community who had died be resurrected. In fact, Paul asserts that at Jesus’ second coming, first the dead in Christ would rise to meet Jesus (4:16), and then those who were still alive would be “caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air,” with the joyous result that all believers