Ascension Day. Acts 1:1-11. Jesus has been enjoying a few extra days of hanging out with his friends and disciples since that beautiful Easter morning in the garden, but now his time on earth is coming to an end — for real this time. Jesus gathers his followers, gives his final reassurances and instructions, then floats his merry way up through the clouds to heaven.
But what if, upon returning to the glories of heaven on that day of ascension, Jesus found the streets of gold completely silent and still, with no one at the pearly gates to greet him and no one throughout the city of God to herald his return? What if heaven was/is a ghost town?
A fabulous and humorous music video suggests that we Christians have lost our way in our preoccupation with who gets to kick it in glory with Jesus. Canadian music duo Ash & Bloom sing their testimony with a merry tune that belies the seriousness of their theological question: if God is a God who loves the whole world desperately but, at the same time, has set heaven to be out-of-reach for all but a few out of the whole world … isn’t God lonely for all of those folks who don’t make it?
I can’t get enough of the animation in this video! The visual impact of watching as God plays both sides of the chess table, as God peers at those in line for the pearly gates and prays for someone to make it past Peter, as God throws a fit because there’s no one to play dolls with — it’s brilliant! (The only thing missing, perhaps, is Morgan Freeman as God.) The combination of playfulness and truthfulness reflects the best of a rich and curious spiritual life, imho. Ash & Bloom’s lyrics affirm, “We don’t really know what happens at the pearly gates, but we know that we’re all human and we’re all sinners.” Their music video’s animation professes something more, something deeper, not just about our human condition but about God’s holy condition: that God lives to be in relationship with the world, and that God is not willing to wait for us to become saints who qualify for heaven before meeting us and being among us.
Check out Ash & Bloom’s “Heaven Is A Ghost Town,” and watch for God crowd-surfing in a barn near you!
Many thanks to Micah who recommended this song to me!