As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will to seek post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer
Friday 22nd May 2020
‘Lost in wonder, love and praise’
A few months I was a guest preacher at a local church. In my view, it is essential that local churches have a good working relationship together. Different denominations and fellowships may have their own unique styles and ethos, but this is all part of the diversity of the Christian Faith. However, with diversity there has to be unity. We all serve the same Lord. The way we work and get on together is part of our Christian witness. It says something about the integrity and values of our faith. So too does our occasional worshipping together.
At the end of the service, after pronouncing the blessing, something rather unusual happened. A visitor to the church stood up and proceeded to warn everyone that the end of the world was imminent. I don’t remember his exact choice of words, but in his view something horrifying was about to happen. Jesus was about the return – not as a baby born in a manger, but as Lord and Judge. And his judgement was going to be terrible.
In Christian theology the study of end times is called Eschatology. It is probably the most disputed and inexact aspect of the Christian Faith. It is the ‘haunt’ of odd bods, radicals and extremists. There are all sorts of nonsense on the internet about Christ’s return and some religious cults and groups (outside the mainstream church) obsessed with it.
One of the other challenges is that the Bible most frequently uses symbolic imagery when talking about end times. What we do know is for those whose hearts have received Jesus, eternity is going to be glorious.
Consider for example, the last two verses of Charles Wesley’s hymn ‘Love Divine.’ Drawing from many different Bible passages he constructs a poem in which he looks to the future of ‘being lost in wonder, love and praise.’
Love Divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven, to earth come down,
Fix in us thy humble dwelling,
All thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.
Come, almighty to deliver,
Let us all thy grace receive;
Suddenly return, and never,
Never more thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve thee as thy hosts above,
Pray, and praise thee, without ceasing,
Glory in thy perfect love.
Finish then thy new creation
Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see thy great salvation,
Perfectly restored in thee,
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise!
Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Revelation 21: 1-8
A new heaven and a new earth
21 Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 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. 4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death”[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’
5 He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’
6 He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practise magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death.’
What is your view of eternity?
Do you have confident expectation that at the end of your life’s journey that something wonderful is going to happen?
Or is there is a need for spiritual growth?
Lord of all time and space, who was and is and is to come, we worship and adore You for You alone are worthy of our praise.
There is none before you, none above you.
Your glory is ever before us and this day we are glad to take our place alongside all those who even now, on earth and in heaven, are raising their voices to exalt You, their minds to know You and their hearts to love You.
May our worship be a fitting offering –a gift in return to the giver of every good and perfect gift.
In Jesus’ name, we pray;
Living God and gracious Father,
In this time when life is in lockdown due to Covid19.
Protect and shield us.
Living God, protect and shield
All whom we love,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Living God, your Son now sits in your presence
And shares in your glory and honour.
We thank you for the promise
That his presence shall be renewed for us,
Through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Living God, we thank you that Jesus prayed for us
And that he continues to intercede for us.
We thank you that he continues to pray
For us and for our protection,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. You will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.
Remind us, God, that this is the beginning, not the end. That You call us to Yourself then send us out to love and to serve.
So may the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you all –and with those you love and with those you struggle to love –now and forever.