The Next Place

The Next Place

The questions that comprise our third week of the “Got Questions?” series are all about what we might call the “afterlife.” Questions about heaven. Questions about hell. Questions about where God lives. Questions about what happens to us when we die.

These are, just like all the questions we’ve wrestled with, really big and weighty questions. And they are questions that confront all of us. Sooner or later, each and every one of us will die. That’s like, guaranteed! No matter your station in life, your wealth, your privilege … you are going to die just like anyone else. And so these questions can create kind of a universal bond, a connection that transcends earthly distinctions.

When we tackle questions like this, the temptation is to seek the so-called “right” answer. If we could just figure this out, we think, things would be so much easier, so much more stable. The thing is, the biggest questions often don’t have a “right” answer. They just don’t. 

Questions about what happens to people when we die are ancient. Every culture in every time has attempted to respond to these questions with stories, parables, visions, and images. These responses are intended to comfort and console, as well as to direct and inspire life. The Judeo-Christian tradition actually has much less elaborate answers about the afterlife than many other cultures. 

Sunday is “All Saints Sunday.” On Sunday morning in worship, we will celebrate the saints, loved ones who died in the past year. Those we love, but see no longer. Remembering them confronts us with our own mortality, and gives us the opportunity to reflect. It is a fitting weekend to reflect on the deep theological questions that arise about the moment of our death.

This weekend we will think about “The Next Place,” and wonder together about heaven, hell, and where we go from here. I’ll see y’all in church.