Thu, 26 November 2020
(Rv.20:1-4,11-21:2; Ps.84:3-6,8,Rv.21:3; Lk.21:29-33)
“The heavens and the earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass.”
Indeed John tells us of his vision that once “the former heavens and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer,” he saw “new heavens and a new earth,” which are, of course, founded on the Word of God, given life by the breath of His mouth alone.
Yes, in the great Evangelist’s vision there was “One who sat on” “a large white throne,” and “the earth and the sky fled from His presence until they could no longer be seen.” Even as the dead whose names are “not found inscribed in the book of the living” are “hurled into the pool the fire,” even as they cannot stand before the judgment seat of the Lord, neither can this earth we walk upon or the heavens upon which we gaze, for they too have become as corrupted as their inhabitants: all that has been spoiled by sin must be cast into darkness, into eternal death. For all that is wicked must join the prince of wickedness, whom the angel of God chains up and hurls “into the abyss, which he close[s] and seal[s] over him.” And any release from this dungeon is only illusory and brief, for this is the home prepared by the Word of God for him and those who serve him from the foundation of the world.
But oh the wonder of the “New Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of heaven from God, beautiful as a bride prepared to meet her husband.” It is she whom He has indeed prepared for Himself, purifying her as a precious jewel, even from the time she was first conceived in His mind, even since His breath first came upon her. And so it is our “soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord,” and is not happy until it rests in His house – yes, our soul is like a sparrow which finds its home in Him, and like the swallow which in His altars makes a nest for her young.
“Happy they who dwell in your house! Continually they praise you.” And in our midst we see your fig tree bloom in the shoot that is your only Son, and your peace does come to reign upon us now. To nothing of this world let us hold but let all corruption pass, that your judgment we may endure, and be found worthy of new life in the Word you speak eternally.
O LORD, let us live in your undying Word
that we might not know the second death,
that we might do your will upon this earth
and come to the kingdom of Heaven.
YHWH, when the heavens and the earth pass away, when they flee from your holy presence, may we be found worthy to stand before your throne and make our eternal home in your House. Of the New Jerusalem let us be, our souls prepared for the return of your Son.
O LORD, we yearn for you, we who are so separated from your glory, from the love that does not pass away. Open our eyes to see your coming, to recognize your presence among us even this day; and make us ready to praise you forever when this winter has passed into spring.
O holy LORD, let us die in you; let us die to all the evil of this world and so be made pure as all your saints. Let us not be hurled into the pool of fire with Satan and his minions but be set free from any chain of sin and so be found clean on the coming Day. Let us conduct ourselves ever with your kingdom in mind.