Sun, 22 November 2020
(Rv.14:1-5; Ps.24:1-6; Lk.21:1-4)
“They are pure and follow the Lamb wherever He goes.”
Here is answered most definitively the question David sings: “Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?” In John’s vision, the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God “was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him were the hundred and forty-four thousand who had His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.” Here are they who are worthy to stand with the perfect and pure One, for their “hands are sinless, [their] heart is clean”: “on their lips no deceit has been found; they are indeed without flaw.” And so they “receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God [their] savior.” The greatest blessing of all is theirs – remaining in His presence forever.
And these holy ones play the thunderous song of praise “on their harps,” “singing a new hymn before the throne in the presence of the four living creatures and the elders.” They indeed have found their place as firstfruits of the kingdom of heaven, singing a hymn no one else could learn. And again, it is their purity, their perfection in the sight of God, that brings them to this holy place. All they have given over to the Lamb, and so He makes them like Himself.
And in our gospel we see in the simple widow indication of the spirit necessary to enter God’s presence. She holds nothing back from the Lord, but gives “every penny she ha[s] to live on.” Yes, brothers and sisters, every penny must be paid; all we have and all we are must be given to Him. If we are like this widow and like the holy ones who stand before the throne and give all while here on the face of the earth, we shall come quickly to heaven and find our place in His presence prepared. If not, the purgatorial flames await to take away any flaw in our soul, to remove any selfishness from our hearts – to bring us then to give up all that we yet have to Him, that with Him we might truly be. But the saints tell us these flames are not pleasant. In fact, they say they are much the same as the fires of hell, though they shall come to an end.
So let us here and now offer all we have to the Lord; let us seek to serve Him with all our lives, that we might by His grace avoid the cleansing fire and come immediately before Him. Only those in absolute purity follow Him and stand in His place.
O LORD, come;
send your Son a second time
and let us enter your kingdom.
YHWH, that we might be able to stand secure before your Son on His coming Day, that great and terrible day that leads to the eternal kingdom! O that we might eat the fruit of the crystal river that flows from your throne and that of the Lamb, that heals us of all our illness and enables us to live forever! O that we might stand in your holy light, that we might look upon your face, your NAME written on our foreheads! O that we might forever reign with you!
O LORD, let us sing your praise even this day that we might come to sing your praise always in your kingdom. Let us bow down in our worship and kneel before you who have made us. You are our God, you alone; let our hearts not be set on any of the things of this world but on you who have made them all, that we might transcend this earth and all its emptiness and come quickly into your presence. O let us heed your Word this day and ever serve you faithfully. Glory to you, O LORD our God!