The Great Story

(A spoken word for 11:07 Christmas Eve service, Shalimar UMC)

In the beginning.
In the beginning, God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God and the Word was with God.
In the beginning God created.
Nothing was created that wasn’t created through the Word.
God spoke: “Let there be.” BANG…BIG BANG!
Let there be light, heavens, earth, creatures, and the crowning creatures, humans, with whom He would share His crowns. And He saw that it was good. Continue reading →

Advertisements

All Things New

5 All Things New.jpg

We named our daughter for that garden paradise where we once walked blamelessly and blissfully with our Maker and for the hope of returning to a garden city where we will do the same forevermore. Eden. One of my Old Testament professors in seminary wrote a book entitled The Epic of Eden. Her premise was that God’s entire plot in The Great Story of scripture is to get Adam and Eve back into the Garden – the people of God in the place of God with the presence of God. Continue reading →

Enter the Throne Room

Have you ever heard Handel’s Messiah, can you recall the music of this classical masterpiece? “KING . . . OF . . . KINGS . . . (Hallelujah, Hallelujah) and LORD . . . OF . . . LORDS . . . (Hallelujah, Hallelujah)” One thing I love about it (besides the breathtaking genius of the music itself) is that it truly tells the whole story of Messiah, the promised one for the people of God. It includes Old Testament prophecy, Christmas, Easter, the Book of Revelation and the final picture, the whole thing! This week, as we approach our final Advent message before Christmas we look at the greatest message of Revelation, that Jesus is Lord. That IS the “revelation.” The heavenly vision of John that involves past, present, and future is that Jesus is the victorious King.

We can see how this is quite relevant to the season we are in. There is a picture that has been floating around the internet for some time now. It is a wooden manger filled with hay indented where a baby might lie. The caption at the bottom reads: “The first king-size bed.” As gimmicky as this might sound it’s true, isn’t it! Of all the kings of the earth history has witnessed, when that king was delivered in a feeding trough He was the only King born to the earth whose rule and reign would endure forever. Revelation 4-5 is an incredible sneak peek not simply of a future reality, but of the present heavenly reality we can’t yet see.

What a vision! If I’m not careful, the overwhelming “other-worldliness” will simply leave me with a crinkled brow and a puzzled expression. When I allow myself to take in what I may not even fully understand my response is like the hosts around the throne – I fall down in worship. Around the throne we see a rainbow, the sign of God’s covenant mercy from the story of Noah and the flood. Twenty-four elders represent the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles of Jesus, together a perfected image of God’s holy people, clothed in white representing purity, and crowned in gold representing the “kingdom of priests” all His people are called to be. So we see in this great vision that this King is reigning now even as other worldly powers seem to be in control; and His power is a different kind of power – love, mercy, and self-sacrifice over physical might and brute force – and His power ultimately prevails over the wicked evil powers that would threaten this world and human life. Those who have already been ushered into His presence are reigning with Him, which the New Testament affirms in places like Ephesians and 2 Timothy.

I want to invite you into a meditation as we prepare to celebrate the coming of the King. Let us join John in the Throne Room. He is one of a few blessed select individuals in scripture who have been invited there, and we with him. As you allow yourself to envision what you cannot actually see, pray that God would give you the faith to trust in this unseen reality. Let it redefine our seen reality of terrorism, fear, racism, hatred, persecution, selfishness, and desperate power struggles that leave wakes of victimized innocents. How might believing that the first Christmas brought the inauguration of the eternal King produce in us comfort, joy, peace, and celebration even in a world where these things may seem scarce? Are you waiting to have these things? What are you waiting for? Jesus is Lord. Hallelujah!