It has been a busy day. First it was a Tuesday, which in my life are my Monday’s, they are always nuts. Second, Kristi was working so I was on for supper. Third, it was Council meeting. Then I got home and after 20 minuets of helping Hannah study for her APUSH test, I got a call. Hannah got the phone and sighed. The caller ID said RAMC, Hannah always sighs when it says RAMC after 5:00. A congregation member had landed in the ER. So it was down to the Hospital for a couple hours.
In all of that I was blessed enough to see the kingdom again today… in Council, despite financial struggles, they deliberated thoughtfully, about more than money, about how best to minister. In all of it I could see the trust and hope that even in these hard times God will provide. The not yet-ness of God’s kingdom are the struggles that we face day to day, but in the knowledge that God’s kingdom is already we can find hope even in the midst of our hardest days.
Then there was the hospital visit. As I sat with the family the words from one of my favorite passages kept coming to me. Ok, it was also part of doing my devotions earlier in the day, but non-the-less, it was there!
“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear.
7And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
8he will swallow up death for ever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
9It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:6-9)
This reading is most often used during Advent, and funny as it may seem, at funerals. I guess it isn’t that odd. Advent is about the kingdom breaking into the “not yet” in the person of Jesus Christ. Funerals about the Kingdom already and the promises received in our baptisms into Jesus life, death and resurrection! Our hope is in this heavenly reward, kingdom life, but our hope is in what God will yet do in this world, which is also kingdom life!
In our devotions they didn’t have verse 9, but I thought that might be an oversight, as it helps us wrap our heads around the already and not yet-ness of God’s kingdom. The first part of the reading sounds a lot like heaven, perfection, a wonderful peace, and no more tears! But verse nine is all about the not-yet. Waiting! Uggg! How I hate waiting, but waiting is very much a part of the in-breaking of kingdom. Waiting in the ER, waiting for a word, waiting for healing, waiting for justice, waiting for peace, waiting for just about everything. We grow impatient and want the kingdom to come now and can’t understand why God just doesn’t get on with it! “Thy Kingdom come now!” we whine… yet this is the God for whom we have waited, let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Wait! There are wonderful things yet to be done in the “not yet” part of the kingdom, so that all might come to know the loving salvation of God and tears might be wiped from eyes even as we wait. So when we are waiting for the kingdom, we are not waiting because it is breaking in all the time and we get to be part of that wonderful event! Already and not yet, waiting and not waiting all at the same time…right?
Ok, well that was more than I thought I had me, if it makes any sense… thank God, well even if it doesn’t make sense… thank God for becoming what you already are in Jesus Christ.