Don’t be sad, our future is so promising!

We are approaching what is called “quiet time”. At the end of the church year, Christians should do some critical introspection and draw new courage by considering the prospects of a better future.

We are approaching the last few Sundays of the church year. Soon the season of Advent will ring in the new church year. Before that happens, we will take an intensive look into the Christian future. In November our divine services will focus on our future hope.

Hope comes from “hopping”, a semantic link that is not immediately obvious in our everyday life. Thank God there are such moments in life, when the heart leaps with joy because one’s hope has been fulfilled. The fulfilment of something that one has desired with one’s whole heart is one of the most beautiful things that can happen to a human being.

A worthwhile look forward

Already before the birth of Jesus, hope in a better future was a popular theme for preaching. Isaiah writes: “Indeed the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the world: ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, “Surely your salvation is coming; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him”’” (Isaiah 62: 11). At the time, so soon after the deliverance from Babylonian exile, there was talk of a new emerging courage.

The Babylonian captivity had shaken many Israelites to the core. Any hope and joy had been blotted out, giving way to frustration and sadness. Today’s Christians also know this: courage and passion are not always the driving force. In the end, however, what remains is the gratifying prospect of our heavenly Jerusalem, the home of our soul. Such prospects brighten our everyday lives. We have been given the promise that, upon His return, the Lord will share His glory with His own. They will then finally participate in His victory and will be delivered from evil.

The kingdom of peace will follow upon Christ’s return

A proven way to prepare yourself properly for a project or a mission is the question: how can I immerse myself fully; where and how can I commit myself?

In the kingdom of Jesus Christ, the mission will be to serve with the Lord. Energetic helpers will be needed when the gospel is to be proclaimed to the living and the dead of all times and without restriction so that all human beings can find their way to fellowship with God.

It is never too early for committed Christians to begin with this. Already today they can practise this service and prove their love and understanding for their neighbour. Being priests of God and of Christ—a special kind of job title.

From the kingdom of peace to the new creation

The last Sunday of the church year looks even further into the future. After the kingdom of peace there will be eternal fellowship with God. “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God’” (Revelation 21: 3). These are wonderful prospects: the completion of God’s plan of salvation, eternal fellowship with God in the new creation.

The “tabernacle of God is with men” is an image for the new creation. God and man will have direct fellowship. The church of Christ will have reached perfection and will be filled with the glory of God. The distance between God and man will once and for all have been abolished. Man will once again have direct fellowship with God.

In view of such prospects, it is worthwhile to remain true and faithful until the end.

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Peter Johanning
Divine service