It is well
Friday, May 8, 2020
In the name of the Father, and of the ☩ Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
O God, make speed to save us;
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Morning Psalm- Psalm 46:1-7
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. 6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”
5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then 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 as a gift from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
We began the week Sunday with the story of Creation in Genesis and we have seen that God’s creative activity in the primordial past spills into the present. God is still creating, new life emerges around us, but also within us. Creation is on the first page of the Bible, and God continues to create throughout the Bible.
We turn now from the beginning of the Bible to the end, the book of Revelation, where we see not only that God created in the past, and is creating now through our present circumstances, but God’s creative nature flows beyond us, into the future. We find ourselves in the middle of the River of Life, which stretches out behind and ahead of us, and what Revelation reveals is the source of the river, bright as crystal: “the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Rev. 22:1) Incidentally, it is this image that inspired our daughter’s name: River Zoe, zoe meaning life in Greek. If you’ve ever seen her wide-crystal eyed, open face, generous smile, it is the gift of life. It is a reminder for me that while we do not now all things, or many things about the life that is emerging ahead of us, we do know the source, and the destination – God, “the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” We may not know the details of this coronavirus, or the best treatment, or best course of action for our nation, our local communities, our church, just as so much of God remains a mystery to us, beyond what we know of Jesus Christ. But we know this: all things come from God and all life returns to God; God is our “ground of being,” to use a phrase of the Lutheran theologian, Paul Tillich. We exist, and can even rest, in the river of Life for in it we rest in God, and are being carried to God. In God, with God, and through God, we emerge, and it is well.
God is at work ahead of us, creating not just a place for us, but a new heaven, a new earth, a city for us to dwell with God and the community of Creation. We will emerge from the river into true, eternal delight: no more virus, no more cancer, no more death. “He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
Here is the honest to God truth about our future from the mouth of God who will create it: “I will be their God and they will be my children.” Amen.
I recommend both songs this morning.
Let us Pray:
Satisfy us with your love in the morning,
and we will live this day in joy and praise.
Eternal God, we praise you for your mighty love given in Christ’s sacrifice on the
cross, and the new life we have received by his resurrection. Especially we thank
the presence of Christ in our weakness and suffering . . .
the ministry of Word and Sacrament . . .
all who work to help and heal . . .
sacrifices made for our benefit . . .
opportunities for our generous giving. . . .
People of God, for what else do we give thanks? Add your own prayers of thanksgiving.
God of grace, let our concern for others reflect Christ’s self-giving love, not only
in our prayers, but also in our practice. Especially we pray for:
those subjected to tyranny and oppression . . .
wounded and injured people . . .
those who face death . . .
those who may be our enemies . . .
the church in North and Latin America. . . .
And for Dick Shepley and his family, the family of Ed Sherrick, Mary, Sharon and Tom Herrold, Duana, Larry, Jennifer Watkins, Brenda and Cliff, Bob, Rochelle, Karen and Steve, Barb and Butch, Sharron Blezard, Marcia, Rose, Phil and Alice, Stanley Hope, Jake, John, Julie, the nurses of our Medical Outreach Clinic and…
People of God, for what else do we pray? Add your own prayers.
you call us to ventures
of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown.
Give us faith to go out with courage,
not knowing where we go,
but only that your hand is leading us
and your love supporting us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God the Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit watch over us. Amen.