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Words from Pastor Jon Coyne

March 28, 2024

Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes - who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.” “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7: 13-17

People prefer to read the words of John 3:16, the “Gospel in a nutshell” verse of the Bible. I would propose that these verses from The Revelation to St. John, provide the entire picture of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection as it applies to our life with God. Lent leads us to the cross and the empty tomb. These words lead us to understand what awaits us because of the cross and empty tomb.

The end of the world, the death of others, and especially our own death can seem like a very frightening and difficult events. Most of us try to avoid thinking about the end of our life. It is easier to put off filling out an advanced directive for your doctors. We struggle to find time to create a will or trust. Behind all of this is a general desire to avoid thinking about death, talking about death, or worrying about death.

This passage ends in a place where I DO want to be thinking, talking and rejoicing. God will dwell with us! God will take away hunger and thirst. In other words, we will have plenty and never need to worry about sustaining our bodies. We will not be subject to the heat and cold of this world which makes us uncomfortable and at times even becomes life threatening. Jesus will be our shepherd who keeps us in eternal life and takes away all of our fears, pain, and sorrow. This is the place where I want my mind to roam when I think about the afterlife.

Sometimes Lent may feel like a season when we focus too much on sin and death. Lent is a penitential season when we spend time thinking about the sacrifice Jesus made for all of creation. Lent always ends with Easter! Easter is the moment when these words from St. John become the vision which God shares for all of us. Jesus rose from the grave and will bring all of us to heaven where all of these great things will change our lives for we will never again be threatened by death.

I pray that your Lenten journey is one which is always focused on the end result. Jesus rises from the grave and proclaims victory for all people. Knowing the ending of the story makes if far easier to consider the realities of Jesus’s journey and the realities of our lives as well. 

God’s Peace,

Pastor Jon