Easter of 1999 my husband Neal and I went to a Christian university to see The Living Gallery. This “tableau vivant” recreated masterpieces filling a large part of the stage. In each of the seven paintings presented, live actors posing perfectly still replaced several of the prominent characters of the scene. Michelangelo’s Pietà, a marble sculpture of Mary holding the body of Jesus crucified, and Max Greiner’s The Divine Servant, a bronze sculpture of Christ washing the feet of Peter, appeared one by one and rotated so one could view all sides. A marble-like substance or bronze paint covered these live statues.
Easter hymns sung by an outstanding choir robed in purple, but hidden in the pit after the first number, accompanied each of the nine presentations. An excellent, thought-provoking drama played out on the side stages and linked the art to the Easter story. The final painting, Ascension by Benjamin West, showed Christ ascending in the clouds and adored by astonished Galileans. The choir sung Wesley’s Christ the Lord is Risen.
An awesome experience, my heart filled to overflowing and I longed to join in the adoration of the risen Christ. However, we were asked not to applaud, due to the sacred nature of the presentation. It was terribly frustrating not to applaud or shout hallelujah, or raise my hands or kneel before God. As the lights came up and we moved into the aisle, I could only take out my handkerchief, cover my face and sob for several minutes in thankfulness to a God who loved me enough to sacrifice His only beloved Son.
This experience of heaven stayed in my mind and heart for several days. What impressed me so strongly was the perfection of heaven—everything there will be perfect; no need for improvements, change, or replacements. Nothing will be weak, sickly, broken, dirty, old, dull, mundane or sinful. Everything will be new, whole, shiny, beautiful, righteous and strong. Most of all, the very essence of God and Christ will be, among other attributes, their own inherent perfection, their strength in it and their power to make all things new and right.
Are you a perfectionist? Sometimes that’s a good thing to be, but most times, not. A “recovered” perfectionist once said she finally realized it was OK if she did not gift-wrap the trash! Is not total perfection reserved for us in heaven? Why do some of us struggle so hard to achieve it here on this ol’ earth? We are accepted in the beloved, in Christ—now.
Recently a lady evangelist remarked that the first thing an injured child wants is to run to his mother, get a pat and hear, “There now, it’s gonna be all right!” Yes, God tells us one day it will be all right, it will be all right, it’s gonna be all right!