I have this vision of what it’s going to be like when I get up to heaven. I’ll die and then my body will float or fly or take some glass elevator up into the sky. I’ll step off onto the landing. There could be clouds or it could just be more of a white courtroom or white city. There could be gates, there could not be. I personally like to think of the city of Gondor from Lord of the Rings, all white stone and beautiful. My religious upbringing has dictated into my mind a vision of a sort of chamber lined with Greco-Roman pillars and a modern day courtroom feel because, after all, the first part of dying and ascending up into heaven is to face judgment. Kind of like when you get a traffic ticket or murder someone. I’m not sure what the mood is. It could be celebratory or it could be more like the DMV with a bunch of people waiting in line to get processed through.
I realize that this is probably nothing what heaven will be like. But growing up I used to hear a story about how facing judgment was like facing a trial. You’d stand before God and perhaps He’d read your sins out loud from His chair or perhaps a movie of your life would play behind Him on the walls on heavens super high quality HD screens. After looking at your life he would read the verdict “guilty.” Only then, Jesus would burst in and declare you innocent because he had died for your sins on the cross. Then when God looked back at you all he would see was Jesus and your innocence. It was a good story. Full of the sort of courtroom legal drama we in America have come to love.
The idea behind it was theologically correct and it was quite literally the good news of the gospel. To be fully known and yet fully loved. However, the vision I have of heaven is getting off the great glass elevator and then shuffling my feet up to the front of this white, possibly courthouse-ish room. God (as judge) will be shuffling papers around in his hand until he gets to “Rogers, Levi Justin.” He’ll look up at me then look back to the papers and then back to me and then say murmur something like, “hmmmm.” Then God just sort of shakes his head in an empathetic way giving me the look I’ve been expecting. Kind of like a good try but not quite sort of look. Almost a I wish there was something I could do sort of look. He’s about to say something when I interrupt him. “I know,” I’ll say, murmuring in agreement. “Don’t worry about it God,” and then I’ll wave goodbye. He’ll look at me, his eyes sad, but his hands tied. And then I’ll turn around and go to hell.