What happens after we die? It’s a fitting topic as we approach Memorial Day, when we honor our deceased soldiers.
That question is big business in the book world. Accounts of Near-Death Experiences (NDE’s) could take up a whole section of the local bookstore. “Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back” has sold almost eight million copies. ”Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterlife” and “To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again” are accounts of two doctors’ NDE’s – and these doctors who were not particularly religious until their extraordinary experiences.
James Martin, a Jesuit priest and analyst of contemporary religion (we’re reading him in one of our small groups right now), was recently interviewed about the popularity of these “Heaven” books. “As more people drift away from churches, traditional answers they relied on in the past have been forgotten, so they seek answers in these books,” Father Martin said. He also points to America’s aging population. “Heaven is naturally going to be on more people’s minds.”
This Sunday, we’ll turn to another bestseller, the Bible, for understanding heaven. And we’ll look at our own Christian experience on this side of the grave. Eternal Life is not for the hereafter — it can be experienced in daily life!