Sometimes I wonder if I should not have lived in the 19th century!

 My wife and I have old maroon Presbyterian hymnals that we often sing from when we have our own worship services on Sundays, mainly because it’s often not good for my immune system to be around too many people. We find that many (but not all) of the songs we love to sing were written in the 1800s!

Recently, too, I was talking to someone about my illness and about looking forward going in His time to the place that Jesus promises he has  prepared for us. But some people I talk to like that seem very focused on this world and this life almost as if this were the only home we had. How sad!

I sometimes feel like I would have found more kindred spirits in the 19th century! In that era, many people spent a lot of energy getting ready to make the transition from earth to heaven, seeking Jesus, and being surrounded by friends. Many reported seeing long departed loved ones as the prepared to leave this world— and they especially reported seeing the Lord!

My impression is that many Christians in the 1800s were constantly looking forward to their eternal home in heaven. In fact 300 years before that, the reformer John Calvin had said that Christians should look forward to and think about heaven every day of their lives!

Do you do that? Or are you all focused on the passing trivialities of this age? What kind of vehicle you drive or who won or lost the Super Bowl are things that will not matter in heaven if they can even be remembered at all. The apostle Paul writes, “do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.”

Winfield Casey Jones is a retired pastor and can be reached at


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