We continue on this week with the "Contemporary Testimony: Our World Belongs to God."
Paragraphs 1-6: Preamble (April 11-29)
Paragraphs 7-12: Creation (April 30-May 8)
Paragraphs 13-17: Fall (May 11-15)
Paragraphs 18-22: Redemption (May 18-22)
Paragraphs 23-27: Jesus Christ
Paragraphs 28-30: Holy Spirit
[For the coming of the kingdom of God, see Matthew 24, Acts 1:10-11, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, and Revelation 19:11-16. 1 Corinthians 15 speaks of the resurrection of the body, Revelation 21:4 of the wiping away of tears, and Revelation 21:22-27 of the light of heaven.]
Oh how we long for that day! Writing this today, I'm certain nearly all of us long for a time and place where there are no viruses. When the time finally comes for us to be forever in a place without sickness or sorrow, crying or pain -- I long for it along with you. If this pandemic makes us long for it even more, that is a good thing. Not that all of us are suffering with COVID-19, but it is certainly a daily reminder of just how good it will be to leave this world of sickness and death, once and for all.
But the best part of our homecoming will be the presence of God. We will see him "face to face in all his glory," as the old hymn tells us:
Face to face with Christ, my Savior,
Face to face—what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ who died for me?
Only faintly now, I see Him,
With the darkling veil between,
But a blessed day is coming,
When His glory shall be seen.
What rejoicing in His presence,
When are banished grief and pain;
When the crooked ways are straightened,
And the dark things shall be plain.
Face to face! O blissful moment!
Face to face—to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ who loves me so.
Pray with me please: Lord, help us to keep worshipping here and now, in anticipation of the time when we will worship you without barriers, restrictions or obstacles. We long to see you! Help us to see you today. While we wait, we lift before you those who are sick, those who have lost loved ones to sickness, those who suffer and grieve. We pray for those struggling with the effects of this pandemic, and we pray for those serving and working in the midst of it. We pray your help, protection and peace upon for all who need it.
Our song for today is Lincoln Brewster's While I Wait, suggested by Jane.
Occasionally in our Friday walking group we get visitors. One day 16 months ago we had a lovely visitor from Glendalough in County Wicklow, Ireland, named Bridget. Since then, via social media, Bridget has kept in contact and introduced us to her grandchildren, chickens, parish priest and donkeys. Today I received from her an Irish cross for my desk with this blessing, which I share with you:
May the dreams you hold dearest be those which come true,
and the kindness you spread keep returning to you.