This All Saints Sunday, we read the names of those who have died since last All Saints Sunday. We tolled the church bell as each name was lifted up in prayer.
It is a lovely service in which we always join in singing "when we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing it will be". But will we be able to find each other in this joyful, crowded place of heaven that John describes in Revelation 7 as multitudes in matching white robes?
I was pondering this with the Christian book club when I realized that our recognition of each other in eternity can't possibly be like it is on earth. We rely so much on physical appearance to determine recognizing each other. But God sees us differently. We are more than body shapes, hair color, or skin tone to God. He knows us as he knit us together in our mothers womb, when we took our first breath, our first steps or turned from Him on a path of erring ways.
Perhaps in heaven, what we will recognize about each other is not based on physical appearance, but by the spirit that dwells with in us.
Have you ever run into a dear friend who you haven't seen in years and didn't recognize them until you heard them say your name? I had this happen with a friend who had completed the gastro-bypass. I didn't recognize the smiling kind person until i heard her voice call my name - then in an instant I knew who she was.
We are so much more than our bodies. So much more than what we see. And it is for this that we will know each other and celebrate our reunion.