Remember the Future

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December 1, 2020

Revelation 21:1-4 (NIV)

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

CONSIDER THIS

The word advent has a very simple meaning: the arrival or coming of a notable person, thing, or event. The church has an ancient saying we call “The Mystery of Faith.” During the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, the people speak this mystery in unison. We declare, “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” Most of the time, the church is pretty faithful to remember and celebrate the first two elements of this great mystery, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When it comes to the third element, the second coming of Jesus, we can be a little more reticent. We believe it, but because it remains in the future, we can’t exactly remember it. Or can we?

By the grace of the revelation of the Word of God, we know the whole story: from beginning to end; from creation to new creation. “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” For centuries, the season of Advent has created an opportunity to remember that which remains in the future. In fact, before Advent was ever about the first coming of Jesus Christ, it was about his second coming. The second coming of Jesus will mark the end of all things broken and the beginning of all things made new. It will be a glorious day, and yet we must be prepared. It is only in remembering the future second coming that we can most deeply appreciate and appropriate Christmas, his first coming.

Whether fact or fiction, stories come with three parts: beginning, middle, and end. The best stories have the longest middles, but the risk of a long middle is that we can lose sight of the end. It’s not the plot that keeps us turning the pages, but the glorious hope of the end, the final resolution. The end is not our death and going to a better place, which is mere comfort. The end is a new heaven and a new earth. That is hope. In this light, I want to ask you to read the following words from the end of the story. Read them aloud, slowly, and deliberately, as though your life depends on it. Why? Because your life depends on it.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

With the first Advent of Jesus Christ, the story shifted from a miry middle to a new beginning—the beginning of the end. We now find ourselves awaiting his coming again when he will bring the new creation. And so we begin again, in a brand new year, with clear vision and renewed hope, somewhere in the middle of the beginning of the end.

THE PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, nearer than my breath, thank you for these days of Advent and this new year in Christ. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Awaken me to you afresh. I am ready to begin again—not starting over, for with you nothing is lost or wasted, but beginning again. Filled with faith, hope, and love, I will awaken now, somewhere in the middle of the beginning of the end. In the name of Jesus Messiah—the one who has come, is here, and is coming again—for his glory and our good. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

What might a new year, a new beginning, a fresh start look like for you on this first day of December? How will you mark this time—neither with idealism or realism but with faith, hope, and love?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

1 COMMENT

  1. I view this season of Advent to be the time to look back at all God has done in the past to prepare me for the present; to see the the present as the day of salvation, while there is still light; and to look forward to a future which brings the promise of eternal bliss in the presence of God. It is to this glorious future that we who now struggle to complete our race will join with those who preceded us. “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us wold they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39)

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