(…A fictional, but all too typical scenario. And, yes, I do believe we will know each other in heaven. The trouble, sometimes, is that we don’t really know each other down here!)
She was just a bit strange…Her hair was really big and a little blue. She looked as if her skin had been baked out in the sun during her younger years. I don’t know if her husband had left, if she was divorced, or if maybe He had died. I never asked her, but now I wonder if she felt conspicuous on that third pew every Sunday all alone. She wore big broaches and support hose and sometimes she gave my kids candy out of her big purse. Sometimes it looked like those peppermints had been in that purse for a couple of years. (They were kind of gummy and sticky, even on the outside.) Her voice was raspy and her head shook a little when she talked, as if maybe she had a form of some neurological disease. And she wore a mink stole to services around Christmas time, even though mink stoles had long been out of fashion and wearing fur was not politically correct. She dropped a folded check from the outside zippered pocket of her purse in the offering plate every week and she always raised her hand as a daily Bible reader. Once, when my little girl lost her bracelet in the parking lot, she found it as she was getting into her Town Car and brought it round to us, saying she thought she had seen my Katie wearing it.
And last Tuesday was her funeral. I wonder if I will even know this my sister in heaven? Will people have big hair there? I don’t think she will be wrinkly. She won’t likely be on the third pew. No one will be wearing broaches or carrying purses there and I doubt there will be peppermint. There will be no mink stoles worn. No Lincoln Town cars on the street of gold. And there will be no folded checks. As a matter of fact, most all of the things I know about this my sister will all be very irrelevant around the throne. Perhaps I should have taken the time to see her soul. Maybe I should have talked to her about our Father, who is there with her now. Maybe some conversation about the people she loved. Maybe some quiet time in prayer, some attention to spiritual goals and just some time around the dinner table getting to know her heart. It’s funny…all these years sitting across the aisle and a few pews back and I only knew the superficial. I never minded about the super-terrestrial…the part of my sister that’s still living. I did not even know her soul.
From now on, I’m determined to know—really know–my sisters. Surely if God adopted us into the same family in the same town and we both cry Abba Father in the same spirit of his adoption (Romans 8:15)…surely if he wrote both of our names in the same Book of Life (Rev. 3:15), he wants us to know each other as sisters do. He wants us to work in his vineyard side by side. He wants us to share the bread of life around His table. He wants us to comfort one another with the comfort wherewith he has comforted us (II Cor. 1:4). We cannot rest together from our joint labor if we have never labored with each other. May I be the sister God wants me to be. May I know the sweetness of the Saviour’s sisterhood.