On the way to preschool on Wednesday, Lucas spoke up from the backseat, "Dad, when the dead people are alive again, will there be dinosaurs around?"
Since Lucas has experienced a couple funerals in his short life, we have had the chance to talk to him about death, about resurrection, and about the Kingdom that is coming. Although we are not sure what, if anything, he is getting out of our broken attempts at describing the ineffable in preschool lingo, the heart of this dad was blessed by that question. He wanted to know if dinosaurs would come back too when God puts everything right and restores His world, bringing His final Kingdom.
Of course, with 3 theological degrees under my belt and one more on the way, I had never once thought about this. I think I might start calling my kids Dr. Lucas and Professor Pooge (that's my nickname for Julian, btw). They tend to call forth greater depth than I have yet considered and often reveal the shallow, inept nature of my education.
So, I said, with all theological adeptness, "Well, buddy, I don't know. But... I think that would be cool, don't you?"
"Eh hem... Yes sir"
"Oh.. yes sir."
After our detour into manners training, I could almost hear the wheels turning in his head as he thought about dinosaurs being resurrected to run about the kingdom with all the resurrected people.
"But, but would they bite people and scare people?"
At this point we were pulling up into the parking lot. "No, buddy, in the Kingdom people won't hurt people any more. Animals won't hurt animals anymore. No one will hurt anyone anymore. All the sadness and hurting will be gone."
As I climb out of my seat he asks, "So, all the 'scaredness' will be gone?"
With a smile I open Julian's door as Lucas is opening his own. "Yes, buddy, all the scaredness will be gone."
Then, as he ejects himself from the car he utters a pure, simple, "Yay!"
Lucas was genuinely glad to hear that in the Kingdom no one will ever have to be sacred anymore.
I appreciated this moment because I was reminded that God desires to plant in my heart and in your heart and in the hearts of my children a dream and a longing for the coming of His Kingdom, when the old order of things shall pass away where there is no more death, no more crying, where he wipes away all tears and puts to rest all 'scaredness' once and for all!
Now, this isn't some waiting for the 'sweet by and by' as if the Kingdom only matters postmortem. If this dream, this longing, invades our heart and minds, then we must respond by giving the rest of our lives to see that the world we are living in now more and more looks like the world that is to come. That, after all, is the way Jesus taught us to pray.
"You Kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven"
Give us the simple, genuine delight of a child that we might work for a world that honors the dream for which the down payment was your Son's blood. Amen.