Roger's Postings

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Revelation 1:4b-8. God over all history 22/11/09

{4}Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, {5} and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, {6} and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father--to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. {7} Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. {8} "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

God here says to us all, that he is the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end, - the One who is; who was; and who is to come - the Almighty. Now that is a powerful statement to us human beings: Particularly us who are living in this day and age.

It is almost as if we today think we have a monopoly on history: That it is us and our knowledge, technology and the like, that is what makes for life. That we are around which life revolves. Along with that there is a reluctance to acknowledge the past in any meaningful way; and are living as if there is no future: Just, an attitude of “I am No. 1” and go get what you can, while you can: and that is the way to go in life. In the end we are the judges of what it right and good and no one dare tell me otherwise. So there is a real arrogance to our approach life; and a dangerous one at that. We are now starting to see the results of this thinking.

Let me share with you what one high school student wrote, who had experienced one of the high school massacres in America.

"The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate more often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life , not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet our neighbour. We've conquered outer space, but not inner space; we've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we've split the atom, but not our prejudice. We have higher incomes, but lower morals; we've become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are the times of tall men, and short character, steep profits, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce, of fancier houses, but more broken homes. It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom.

To this, we have God saying, ‘grace and peace to you.’ He wants us to know that there is true undeserved favour: true harmony and wholeness available to us. In other words, he extends to us true health, wealth and happiness: True contentment, security and all the rest. Yes the things that we really need, and which are truly helpful and good. And on top of that, and most importantly, he gives forgiveness sins, life and salvation. If we keep our head in these difficult times, it will all work out in the end.

This all comes to us from the one who truly is God, and who is able to give us these things and ensure that everything works out for good for those who love the Lord. The One who is; always was; and always will be: God Almighty himself here ensures that it is so. Not some fickle philosophy – empty promises from someone who is here today and gone tomorrow. Not something that money can buy – but fails to deliver the good that is wanted or expected. No, here is almighty God himself: The One who is from everlasting to everlasting.

Here is the One who created all things and is still actively sustaining creation. He is the one who so intricately put together all that we see around us: the universe; our body, nature; the whole bit. The more we learn from science, the greater we see it all to be. And it is God himself who put it all together and keeps it going: and he does so for our good; even though we continue to muck it all up.

Here he also reminds us that the Holy Spirit is also at work seeking to do all he can to bring his grace and peace to us. Constantly through the Word and Sacrament he tells us, and in fact, gives us his love; to reassure us of the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation that has been won for us by Jesus Christ. And through the Word to remind us of what is good for us, and how we can now live and act. He guides us in the way of peace and so much more.

Then we have Jesus most profoundly and clearly making it possible for this grace and peace to be ours through his life, death and resurrection. Through his life, he showed and told us that he was the Son of God come into our world. Then he died on the cross, taking the punishment that should have been ours and thereby extending God’s forgiveness to us. Three days later, he rose again so that we can be sure of this forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. He has now ascended to be ruler over all things: every earthly leader: every power and every philosophy.

So now surely our only response can be, to hold this Jesus up as the only hope and the only way: the only one to look up to and recognise as our power for living. Surely since he is such a great and loving God we will want to be a part his family: living for him and one another: seeking to share this grace and peace with others around us: Knowing all the while that he still loves us today and always: Knowing that all the time we live under his forgiveness and that we have the certainty of eternal life with our great God.

But here also the Almighty God reminds us that he will come again as Lord and Judge. All those who have taken him seriously, looking to Jesus Christ and trusting in all that he has done for us and for our salvation, will be vindicated and ushered into heaven. But he also tells us that all who have not taken him seriously will mourn: in fact, they will be devastated because they have rejected him and what he has to offer. They will have brought hell on themselves. You see, just because we have not taken him seriously does not mean that he will not come to judge them and hold them accountable to him who is truly Lord over all.

Oh yes, there will be many who will say – ‘but- but we are Christians. We went to church occasionally. We lived a pretty good life. We tried to do right thing – most of the time. And look, we sort of believed in you, but we had to do all these other things: we got involved in other organizations: we had businesses to run; and we could go on. Anyway, we were just following the thinking of our day: everybody else was doing it: and it was claimed to be the right way.’

To which God will once again say, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega: the beginning and the end, - the One who is; who was; and who is to come – the Almighty.’ And they won’t have a leg to stand on. They knew that he was God, and they had heard the truth but chose to take their chances: they chose to place their trust in the here and now. They thought that they could get by, by being there own judges as to what is right and wrong. They had set themselves up as there own little gods and failed to listen and take heed to this true God who is Lord over all of history.

But to those of us who believe in him and have looked to him alone, as our one true hope in life; we are given here that wondrous assurance that in the end we will not be put to shame. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father--to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.

So to conclude, what is there that we can say: He is the Alpha and the Omega – the One, who is; who was, and who is to come; He is the Almighty: the great God of all of history. And all we can say is – ‘So shall it be. Amen. So shall it be. AMEN.

Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish

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