Sunday, March 2, 2014

The land of Celebration

Just outside of Orlando, Florida sits the town of Celebration. Celebration was built in the 1990's by the Walt Disney Company with the intention of creating a "better place and a better way to live." Apparently, someone in the Magic Kingdom believed that a heaven on earth is attainable and decided they were up to the task of creating it. 
And so Celebration was born. The utopian community was built on five basic principles: sense of community, sense of place, focus on technology, focus on education, and focus on health. The overarching idea behind every aspect of the Celebration plan was to create a place of perfection, set apart from the flawed urban sprawl found throughout so much of America. Celebration was designed to be a step back in time when neighbors knew each others names, kids picked up the bread from the local bakery and dogs stayed behind freshly painted white picket fences. 
Some have flocked to Celebration with the idea of living in this dreamlike fantasy land. These souls are hungry for the utopia that Walt Disney dreamt would someday be reality. 
Others aren't jumping at the chance to leave in "the creepiest place on earth," as one writer so eloquently refers to it. The covenants, bi-laws and guidelines for living in Celebration have caused some to compare it to town in the famous Stepford Wives thriller. 
The town sends down snow in December and leaves in October. All the homes must fit into a specific color scheme and architecture. One policy even regulates how many people can sleep in one bedroom. Answer? Two. How many cars can be parked in your driveway is another legal matter. Free speech is limited and compliance is mandatory. 
Are you ready to move yet? Do you want to pick up your life and relocate to the land of perpetual Celebration? 
I don't know about you, but I think I'll stay in my average, non-utopian Erie, Pennsylvania. 
The truth is there is no such thing as utopia in this world. This side of heaven there is no perfection to be found on earth. Walt Disney and his whole company can dedicate every breath and waking hour to setting the right policies and regulations to create the ultimate society but their efforts will be in vain. They can make sure that every season is experienced without ever having to leave Florida but their ultimate goal will still be unattainable. 
Every society in this world will be flawed, fallen and faulty. But don't lose hope! Because our eternal home is not here. Our home is in heaven.
God has established mansions, streets of gold, glorious light and beautiful music for us in our heavenly home. Here on earth we will always have trouble, even in a town as well planned as Celebration. In this world human sin in inescapable. But the true utopia, the ultimate Celebration, is with God in the eternal bliss and utter perfection of heaven. It is there, among the angels and boundless praise, that we will find true perfection that will never exist on earth.
Chances are my next relocation won't be to the town of Celebration, FL (I'll never say never because God loves to prove me wrong). To experience utopia I don't need the by-laws and communities this world has to offer. Each of us has the opportunity to live in light of the heavenly celebration that is to come. Paul wrote of that attitude in Philippians 3:20 when he said, "But our citizenship is in heaven." The perfect, flawless Heaven is my true home. So why do I need a utopia here on earth? I am already a citizen of God's utopia - and I'm pretty sure it's better than Walt Disney's! 
By repenting of my sins, believing in Jesus Christ as my Savior and submitting my life to Him I have become a citizen of His Kingdom. That is where my citizenship lies. The place I call home is where He is, in eternal glory. 
You too can call Heaven your home. Repent, turn to Jesus, submit to His Kingship. He alone provides the path to eternal celebration. And the good news is you won't even have to move to Florida (that is, unless you like fake snow in December). 

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