Sat, 18 May 2019
(Acts 14:21-27; Ps.145:1,8-13; Rv.21:1-5a; Jn.13:31-33a,34-35)
“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.”
This is the promise on which we set our hearts, this vision of John. This is the word which encourages us to look forward to the coming of our God in the fullness of His presence amongst us. How we long to be His bride in heaven!
John indeed sees the “new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,” His holy bride. And his ears hear the promise that “He will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes.” No more shall there be “death or mourning,” no more “wailing or pain” – these things which beset us here shall all pass away. On this glory we must set our sights, for as long as we toil upon this earth there will be tests and trials that can only be overcome with this vision of God.
In our first reading we hear that Paul and Barnabas have accomplished the rounds of their mission journey and “made a considerable number of disciples.” We witness how God “opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” and so to the world at large. All men of all times are now called into the kingdom of God. And here is cause for great rejoicing. Yet the message of these apostles, borne out by their own experience, is that we must “undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” for though the Spirit of the Lord fall on Christ’s disciples, still these disciples are in this world, where the coming of the kingdom has yet to be fulfilled, and weeping at the darkness remains part of our condition.
In this world there shall be persecution, no doubt. Though God’s “kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, and [His] dominion endures through all generations,” though Jesus has come and lived and died among us and sent His Spirit for rebirth, though indeed His presence is very much in our midst – yet the evil one enters in; yet he lurks in hiding. And we must be prepared to conquer him, and even to find our salvation by enduring the suffering he devises.
In Jesus we see well the way in which God is with us here and how we come to Him in heaven. The Lord says as His hour of death approaches: “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him.” Even as Judas leaves to fetch the instruments of His death, Jesus sees His glory come. In His crucifixion He shall destroy the devil and come completely to the Father – and even on the cross, God is with Him.
Here we must endure, brothers and sisters, knowing God is with us; and soon we shall come to the fullness of His presence, to “the glorious splendor of [His] kingdom.” Soon the Lord will “make all things new,” as new as our spirits have already become.
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "In Your Eyes" from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, let us see your kingdom
descend into our midst
through the love of your only Son.
YHWH, let the glorious splendor of your kingdom be upon us; let us dwell in the New Jerusalem with Jesus your Son and with all His disciples. From the ends of the earth gather your Church into your holy presence, that forever we might sing your praise.
Though we must endure many hardships to enter your kingdom, it matters little to those who know the glory that comes through the Cross; in fact, it is cause for us to rejoice. For so long as the Cross is with us on this dark earth, O LORD, Jesus is with us bringing His comfort and peace – and so we know the mourning and weeping will soon pass away… so we see how He makes all things new.
O let us discourse of the glory of your reign! Let us set our hearts on serving your will by bringing others into your gates. Help us, O LORD, to love one another even as your Son.