Living In Faith, Hope, And Love Until That Final Day!
These are the great, joyful, confident last words of the Bible. They echo the great liturgical prayer in Aramaic, Marana tha! Our Lord, come! And we know in faith that he will come, and that he who is the Word will, indeed, have the last word! Praise God in his holy name!
As Christians we are not to look at these words through the prism of the troubles in the world today. It is a joyous prayer, a prayer rooted in the faithful yearning to finally see the face of God to be in his holy presence, now and forever. It is not to be understood as The End, though it will be the final completion of the salvation of the world that began with the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Rather, it will be the beginning of the world to come, the longed for return to Paradise, where there will be no more tears, and no more death. If we are living faithful lives of love and service, hospitality and forgiveness, according to the precepts of our Christian faith, this coming is a matter of joyful anticipation, rather than a reason for fear. It is not a threat. It is the fulfillment of a promise rooted in love.
Not even the angels in heaven know the day or the time of the Last Day. It is known by God alone. It is not ours to try to bring about, or to try to predict by “reading the signs of our times.” The world has always been threatened by the forces of evil. Today’s troubles are nothing new. Our duty as Christians is clear and direct. We are to live our lives in love for Christ, and for all of God’s creation. We are to love God with our whole being and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to be the servants of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and compassion in this broken world. We are to be leaven. We are to submit to God’s will and to be the willing conduits of his love to others in our daily lives. We are to be lights in the darkness, cities upon a hill. This Love, after all, is the only force in creation that can turn enemies into friends, that can heal divisions of all kinds. John, the author of Revelations, also wrote, “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8) We are to be the people who know God, those who make God tangible and visible to others by our love.
In one sense the final day comes for all of us at our deaths. If we have loved God and others as he loved us, we will come to see him in the face. As Christians, we are not to concern ourselves with the Last Day. It will come when we least expect it. Rather, we are to live each day as if it was the Last Day. If we live in faith, hope, and love, we are living in the manner in which we have been called. On that day, the day of our death, or the Last Day itself, we will be dressed in white and we will no longer know fear, or tears, or death, for we shall be forever in the bright presence of the Living God.
It is in living the Christ life that we find our joy. It is in living the Christ life that we find the peace that surpasses all understanding. These words, “Marana tha; Our Lord, come!” are a matter of joy, not something to be feared. Lord, let the whole Christian Church shout with joy. Give all Christians the inspired confidence of your love. Let all who believe say, “Amen! And Amen!” In Jesus name, we pray. Amen!
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