Recently my septuagenarian mother mentioned that it's probably time to start going through her house identifying things my sister and I might like after they pass. I'm not opposed to the task. Death is a natural part of life, and I'm not terribly afraid of it. What struck me, though, was how little I desired their stuff. What I really want are the little sentimental things that remind me of my childhood stories. What matters to me are the relationships, the stories we continue to tell, and the stories that shaped who I have become as an adult.
When I consider my state as an inheritor with Christ. I don't really desire the stuff God has created and we have deemed valuable: food, clothing, shelter, necessities and luxuries. What I really want are the relationships God has given to me as a gift: family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, strangers. I want to bring with me the stories that have shaped me into who I have become. I would very much like still to be me -- authentically, genuinely me, with all my quirks and flaws, successes and failings. I want to worship and walk with God in the fullness of who God has made me to be, and who I have been shaped to be throughout my life. I don't know how this fits into our traditional perception of heaven as being a spotless, flawless, perfect, sterile place. All I know is that I would rather face God blemished and with the wholeness of all the people and interactions (good, bad, and ugly) whose lives have touched mine than to have my shades blotted out and inherit heaven blandly. Whatever your perception of being an heir, I hope that you are blessed by God not with stuff, but with the stuff that makes you you.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Romans 8:12-17
So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.