(September 26, 1990)
“Don’t miss the 60th Anniversary reunion...” the folder said. A decade ago, while we were living in the United States, my hometown hosted a reunion celebrating 50 years; we wouldn’t miss the celebration this time. Other people may reach back to their roots now and then but I had not been “home” for 30 years.
Some of the thoughts that ran through my head included a hope that everyone would be wearing name tags. What if no one knew me? Or worse yet, what if I didn’t know anyone... not even my closest school chums?
As I poked through my closet wondering what to wear, I wondered who would attend and what happened to those old friends. In contrast to my own children, I went to school in one place so some of those people had been my friends all twelve of those growing-up years. With so many relocations since then, I’ve lost touch. Getting together again held promise of joy to be sure, but maybe some surprises.
Well, the reunion is past. It was a weekend last July and marvelous in every way. We did have name tags but, for the most part, didn’t need them. We shared school yearbooks and photos of our children, exchanged addresses and remembered the good and bad times with laughter and even a few tears. It was a wonderful celebration and, as far as I was concerned, it could have lasted much longer.
As tremendous as this not-soon-to-be-forgotten event was, it really is only a shadow of another celebration that I also have been invited to attend. It won’t be an anniversary but it will be a reunion... and no one will need name tags. There, we will “know, even as we are known.”
The date is immediately after I leave this life; exact time, of course unknown. The place is heaven, and it is a definite location: Jesus said, “I go to prepare you a place for you... The occasion is the receiving of an inheritance — eternal life with Christ. What a celebration it will be.
In that day, all of God’s people will be together — everyone including the summer Bible school worker who first shared the gospel with me, and the believing pastors of every church. There will be mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, grandparents, old-timers such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and certainly lots of children, for Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me... for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
We will come from a variety of eras and backgrounds; some will be farmers, some doctors and lawyers. There will be both women and men, rich and poor, baggers and kings, the brainy and the brawny, people from every nation and language.
What to wear is also a decision, but it can, and even must, be made before arrival. You see, there is a dress code; no one can get in without a white robe of righteousness. That will be a problem to those who have refused to believe in Jesus Christ and haven’t surrendered their lives to Him.
The best part of this heavenly reunion is that there are no more second partings, no more good-byes. We won’t have to go back to our jobs and our own homes, separated by miles and miles. We won’t have to wonder any more about the whereabouts of those we love are or what they are doing. We will be able to fellowship with other believers endlessly as we worship our Savior together. In that place, and for that reunion, friends really are friends forever and the greatest celebration of all will never end.
The invitation is still open. Jesus gave it when He died on the cross. He says, “Come unto me... and I will give you life...” and whoever comes, believing and obeying, will also be part of that promised everlasting reunion.