There are many reasons why I choose to wake up early on the Lord’s Day. Most of the reasons are practical and relate to my ministry duties but I would not say that these are at the top of the list. To be quite honest, Sundays during the course of a year have always felt like 52 Christmases to me. When we were small and began to stir on Christmas morning, an awareness of the big day would find us and we consequently found ourselves leaping out of bed and running to see what gifts awaited us. Without seeking to sound overly-spiritual, I testify that, for the last seventeen years, I feel that expectancy and excitement each Sunday. I long for something great to happen and, most weeks, it usually does.
“…we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.” – 1 John 3:2
May this Lord’s Day allow us to slow down and remember that we are people who are journeying through a land to which we cannot ultimately belong. Whether we awoke today in Australia, Europe, Africa or North America…we did not awake at home. When we gather with the children of God in local houses of worship today we are being reminded that our purpose and passion are not of earth. We worship a King we have not seen. We sing songs from within about a God that none of us have ever laid eyes upon. The deepest strings of our hearts’ symphonies seek to harmonize with the anthems of a Heaven we have never visited. As the redeemed we experience a crystallizing clarity about what is most important when we assemble together in the unity of the Holy Spirit. When we pray today we acknowledge the One among us who is our Sovereign Shepherd. I plan to release some of the money entrusted to me today so that I can participate in God’s work in my generation. What a privilege to teach His Word this morning! And, were I not teaching it, what a privilege it would be to be graced as one who would hear it taught to me. Sundays are meant to be special in that we are called to come apart from the grit and grind of this earthly pilgrimage so that we can think upon Him without distraction. We are to welcome and nourish the longing to be free in glory with the Object of our adoration.
Don’t miss what John wrote above. The three words “when He appears” come charging into our mindless, aimless planet and shake us awake from the anesthesia offered to us from our culture. No matter where you find yourself on the spectrum of thought concerning the timing of Christ’s return to earth, we all agree that the ultimate pinnacle of our faith is to experience the consummation of being in the very presence of Jesus Christ. Should other pristine and precious rewards be offered us without limit for a million untold ages we could never be satisfied until our longing eyes rest upon His eternal countenance. I ache to look into His very eyes and receive immediate and incontestable assurance that all is well. There is no doubt within me that He will be smiling when we, His lambs, finally enter into His presence. His hands, His feet, His throne – let us remain there in ecstasy forever and ever! He has a voice- the voice of a glorified man who is both God and King – and He will speak initial words unto each of us in glory. He, the Logos of God, will not cease to communicate when we arrive in His paradise. I am convinced that some of the joy of glory will be to hear Him share the things that He would not let Daniel or Paul share. He has so much awaiting you and me and I long so deeply this morning for all of this to come to pass. Could there be any greater occasion than to see Him, hear Him, touch Him and become like Him? John says in that same passage that we will be like Him when we see Him as He is.
To be like our Savior. That is my longing. That is your thirst. May we be graced to experience the strengthening of the certainty that it will surely come to pass. Your life’s mist is not as dense as it was yesterday. As the years have fallen, I’m more than halfway there. We are all closer. The consummation is nearer. We rejoice because…