While we should enjoy God’s good creation, and while we should make the most of our time here, this is not our final destination. The new heavens and the new earth are our destination, where we will live with God forever in face-to-face and heart-to-heart encounter with God through Jesus in the Spirit. Jesus’ first followers’ hopes were set fully and firmly on his promises of enduring presence in their lives through the Spirit, and then later in face-to-face encounter with Jesus in the Father’s house. Certainly, the security of Jesus’ presence in this world and the next would give them hope and assurance in the face opposition and persecution. . . . Jesus’ presence and promises, including the promise that they would live with him in the Father’s house, meant the world to Thomas and Philip and the rest of the disciples. And Jesus’ presence and these promises should mean the world to us today. — Paul Louis Metzger, The Gospel of John: When Love Comes to Town (Intervarsity Press, 2010), 180.
Last week, when I finished the Netflix version of A Series of Unfortunate Events with my two younger daughters, I was struck by the importance of story / perspective in framing the good, the bad, and the ugly. The next day, when I turned to preparations of a small group Bible study on John 14, I found the passage / section of Scripture shouting out the importance of story / perspective in framing the good, the bad, and the ugly. In response I am developing a dialogue between A Series of Unfortunate Events and Jesus’ final teaching to the disciples (John 13-17) for Lent (March 6 – April 18). Stay tuned.
In the meantime . . .
- in what manner do your head, heart, and hands witness to the new heavens and new earth as your final destination?
- in whom / what do you place your hopes as you engage “the good, the bad, and the ugly” in the daily grind, relationships, and the big picture?
I pray that Jesus’ presence and promises “mean the world” to you, me, and the people of God in our place of study / work / life throughout all our days no matter the challenges faced.
To God be the glory!
About the author:
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the Northeast Regional Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). For a number of years, the Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine was the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!