The Celestial City is beautiful. Encrusted with jewels and gold-paved roads, it’s where real treasures are stored and never fade. It’s where the Lord resides and where the main character in The Pilgrim’s Progress journeys to find. He knows he won’t get there right away, but it will be his last destination and the place he can finally see Jesus, the one who took away his heavy burden.
This 340-year-old, allegorical novel follows the story of a man who is appropriately named, Christian. It opens with the author, John Bunyan, who says he fell asleep and dreamed. In his dream, he sees Christian standing with a large weight on his back and a Bible in his hand. Bunyan watches as the man becomes distraught over the reality of his sin and how he might be saved from it.
As Christian commits to his quest toward the City, he experiences a myriad of trials and meets several aptly-named characters – all of which appear as relatable metaphors for any believer’s faith.
Similarly, those who are followers of Christ are woven into an intricate story in which we daily walk a path laid out for us. Unlike Christian, the decisions we make along our individual journeys are not confined to the pages of a novel. We have been invited into a more complex, more stunning narrative, and it’s one in which we know the ending.
The GO Fund’s annual Vision Dinners are themed after these beliefs. As we move toward the Celestial City, we want to celebrate the ending we know comes for those who put their faith in Christ, the one who takes our burdens. We also want to link arms with brothers and sisters whose paths have lead them to the farther reaches of the world.
Matthew 6:19-21 tells us to store up for ourselves treasures in Heaven where they can not be destroyed. Followers of Christ can rejoice that there will be a reward for the work that often shows little return here on Earth. The beautiful currency we will be given at the end of our journeys are small tokens that further reveal God’s goodness and character – the ultimate provider and Father who delights to give his children good gifts. This truth is paired with the stronger, underlying reason we so desperately desire to reach the Celestial City. It is the same as Christian’s in The Pilgrim's Progress:
“There at the Celestial City, they say there is no death and there I shall dwell with such companions I like best. For, to tell you the truth, I love Him because He released me from my burden, and I am very weary of my inward sickness. In view of this, I prefer to be where I shall die no more, and in company of others who shall continually cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy!’”