Can You See What We Shall Be?
For a liturgical church like ours, these first few weeks of November mark the end of the year. We have, in our worship at least, run the course set before us, from The anticipation of God's new thing, the incarnation, to the hope of Christ's coming again in glory. At the center of this year, stands the cross. Jesus's cross brings an end to sin and death. Jesus rises from the dead, the first and chief heir of what God promises to be an amazing new heaven, new earth, new creation. By God's grace this new creation includes you and me, as St. Paul writes, "So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!" 2 Corinthians 5:17.
In November we stretch to see if we can yet see the end, Christ coming to us from out of God's future. Is it in sight? I suppose not in any visible way right now. We are hard pressed to say, "Look! Over here is God's kingdom!" and have anyone take you seriously. That is because, God's kingdom remains hidden in plain sight, in the ordinary righteousness that does not look glamorous or heroic. God's kingdom is hidden, just as Jesus himself both concealed and revealed the kingdom in his body. To see the revelation of where God is and what God is doing, now that is a special gift. Special, but not exclusive.
It is special because it comes from God's own Holy Spirit as in faith when we hear God speak, and we trust God's word. God's kingdom comes now in ordinary bread and wine, but in it, Jesus gives us his body and blood for our life. So, when we eat the meal, we taste a little of the heavenly banquet that will celebrate God's righteous reign. We pray that God's kingdom comes among us too, you and I, messed up and broken and all. In his love, Jesus has made us part of his life and given us a place in God's kingdom.
The past, like most of this year, lies behind us, dead in Christ. The future, God's future stretches out in front of us. We are, by God's grace, a heavenly host destined for God's praise and glory. Is that what you see when you worship on Saturday or Sunday? Probably not. But this month, we will hear God say it will be so when we gather around, open and read the holy story.
God give us the faith ... and the holy imagination ... to hear and trust your promise and to invite others into our hope. In Jesus' name.
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