On our trip to Disney World, we rode “It’s a small world”. Twice. We had mapped out a plan entitled ‘jr. pirate adventurer’, a tour for boys ages 4-8. It included 22 steps. We killed it. All 22 steps and had time left over. When we exited Peter Pan’s Flight, our final ride, we noticed no lines/no waiting at the infamous boat ride across the ‘street’. So we hopped aboard and traveled round the not-so-small animatronic attraction.
For those of you who have never had the pleasure of this experience, it is a boat ride through several rooms. Each room represents a continent. There are thematic dancing dolls all singing in their native tongue the song ‘it’s a small world.’ The song is played over and over and over again throughout the ride, the tune sticking in your brain like crazy glue forevermore.
I enjoyed the ride, and its catchy tune.
I love cultural variation. I appreciate the interpretation each society has on life. Studying other cultures humbles and enlightens me. It sheds much needed perspective on my American brain of the value of time, the expression of symbols, and the art of dance. We have much to learn.
The final room of the ride has no continent ascribed to it. All the dolls are dressed in similar white cloth and are singing in unison. When we got to the final room, Josiah immediately said, “Is this the heaven room?”
I quickly shot back, “No honey. There is nothing spiritual about Disney World.”
But when we got on the ride the 2nd time, I looked around the final room and whispered to Michael, “you think this is Walt’s interpretation of heaven?” <Uhm….I may have referred to Mr. Disney on a first name basis the entire time we were in his park. I mean, you get close to a guy when you walk around in his imagination for 16 straight hours.>
Michael responded to me in a rarely used sarcastic tone, “yes, Christi Anna, and the angels will all be playing harps and singing in English…”
“Well, maybe they are all singing in their native languages and we can just understand it…because it’s the ‘heaven’ room” I retorted.
I got the ‘you-are-not-going-to-get-me-to-go-there-no-matter-how-long-you-talk’ look.
But try as I might, I couldn’t distinguish from one animatronic doll to the next. They all looked the same. In unison, in song.
The thing that I think struck Josiah, and me, was the stripping away of the social constructs of race, ethnicity, and culture. Perhaps that’s what heaven will be like. In our heavenly forms, there will only be equally illustrious shades of brilliance. There will be no ethnicity, save that we will be citizens of one Kingdom. And the culture will be like nothing we’ve known.
The famous song on the ride indicates:
‘it’s a world of laughter, a world of tears
it’s a world of hopes, it’s a world of fear’
Heaven will be different.
‘And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.’ Revelation 21:3-5
And there will be no more night. The deep dark suffering will be over. There will be no sickness, sorrow, nor need of slumber. There will be neither poverty, unwanted children, war, nor bullies. There will be no paralysis, no anxiety, no hunger. There will be no rejection, no disappointment, no hate. No indifference, deployment, or need of a doctor. No more emergency, no deadline, no depression, no abuse. No waste. No violence. No greed. There will be no more death.
In short, Heaven is infinitely greater than Disney World. Infinitely greater than the ‘happiest place on earth’. Infinitely greater than you could ever think or imagine. Infinitely better than the happiest day of your life. Infinitely better than your first married kiss. Infinitely better than the moment your sweet clean baby drifts off to sleep in your arms, and you have nowhere to be. Infinitely better than the crisp mountain air in the fall, when the leaves are in all their earthly splendor. Better than coffee…on the beach…at sunrise. Infinitely better. For His word tells us:
What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.
And you have a personal invitation.