Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and good night! Pastor Chris is out of town spending time with some family, so whether you like it or not, I will be the voice of encouragement for you today! :-)
Today I want to draw our attention to words written thousands of years ago, and they speak to a time yet to come that will last for the rest of eternity. Right now, it’s so incredibly easy to look at the world around us, and to see everything that’s wrong. So hear these words written by the Prophet Isaiah:
“17 For look, I am ready to create
New heavens and a New Earth!
The former ones will not be remembered;
no one will think about them anymore.
18 But be happy and rejoice forevermore
over what I am about to create!
For look, I am ready to create Jerusalem to be a source of joy,
and her people to be a source of happiness.
19 Jerusalem will bring me joy,
and my people will bring me happiness.
The sound of weeping or cries of sorrow
will never be heard in her again.
20 Never again will one of her infants live just a few days
or an old man die before his time.”
I look around, and I see the faces of good police officers wondering what the future will hold. I see the faces of men, women, and children who have experienced systemic and personal injustice. I see the faces of terrified mothers-to-be wondering if they’re going to survive the journey to come. I see the sorrow in the eyes of moms and dads who have lost their little ones before ever getting the chance to meet them. I see the scared eyes of the boys and girls in foster care who have lost everything. I see the dimming spark in the eyes of a widow who is so tired of being alone. I see the fear in the eyes of vulnerable wondering if this pandemic will mean the end. I see the tired men and women working tirelessly to do what is right while they lead those around them while taking shot after shot from the people they love. I see the sorrow of the families of the now 520,000+ image-bearers around the world who have drawn their last breath because of COVID-19. I see the sadness on the faces of children who said goodbye to a grandma or a grandpa too soon. And I see the sadness on their faces as school has changed, and a place they once sought comfort is now vacant. I see the bruises on the body of a child at the hands of someone who says ‘I love you’.
It’s impossible to say which of these is most important. It’s impossible to say which one of these deserves our undivided attention.
Today I want to remind us of a day coming when Jesus returns and God will make all things new. A day when there are no more tears. A day when there is no more isolation. A day when we get to walk with Jesus in the cool of the day basking in the glory of His New Creation. A day when we feel the grass beneath our feet and breathe the very air beside our Savior.
That is our future hope – the resurrection of the body. Life Everlasting! And what I love is that our everlasting life has already begun. We are now alive in Christ, and we have the beautiful work ahead of us to meet the brokenness in front of us with grace, love, humility, and power! Each time we pay special attention to the widow, we usher in the Kingdom. Each time we encourage the weary and lift them up, we are ushering in the Kingdom. Each time we grieve with those who have lost because of this virus, we are ushering in the Kingdom. Each time we befriend a terrified mother-to-be who feels they are all alone, we are ushering in the Kingdom. Each time we work for a child who has been abused at the hands of someone they love and trust, we are ushering in the Kingdom. Each time we advocate for the broken, the beaten, the vulnerable, the oppressed, we are ushering in the Kingdom!
Jesus spent the time to give special attention to the Samaritan, to the value-less child, to the ‘outsiders’ of God, to the ‘insiders’ of God, to the Leper cast out, and even to the one who would betray Him… Each time He did so, He showed us the work to come. He showed us wisdom. He showed us His Heart.
There is a lot of sorrow in the world right now, I feel it; I know you feel it. Know that there comes a day when God will make all things new. There is a day when Christ returns, the 1 is returned to the 99, the outsider will join in the table of God, and the little are lifted up.
What a beautiful work to be a part of! And what a wonderful thing God is doing through each of us.
I pray you are well and that your Fourth of July plans are safe and full of Joy!
Have a wonderful weekend, brothers and sisters.