A lot of you know that I spent they years 1990-1999 pastoring in Monroe, North Carolina, a medium-sized town about 30 miles south and east of Charlotte. As is typical of United Methodist pastors, I served two churches at the same time (called a two-point charge): Mt. Carmel was the larger church, where I preached at 11 a.m., and Midway was the smaller one with services at 9:45 a.m.
I’ve said through the years that Midway averaged about 30 people per Sunday when I arrived in 1990, and through the next nine years of visionary leadership I grew it to 20.
Anyway, one of the signature songs of the Midway church was What A Day That Will Be, a Southern gospel classic that is sappy, hokey, sentimental, and . . . perfect.
Why perfect? Well, I’ve had a series of funerals recently and in the process have come to realize all the ways in which we attempt to humanize the hereafter. Our natural inclination is to make heaven about us: the reunions we’ll have, the joys we’ll share (usually of the earthly variety, like perpetual golf, just better and longer), and the rest we’ll enjoy.
What A Day That Will Be offers a not-so-subtle corrective to all that. It unashamedly puts the Savior at the center of the realm of eternity. I believe in time we’ll discover that heaven has relatively little to do with human dreams and substantially more to do with divine glory.
Because Jesus is both the author of its beauty and the object of its worship.