And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. (Revelation 22:3)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Some people like to accuse Christians of neglecting this world, of being too concerned with “going to heaven,” of not dealing with the reality of this life. They say we worry too much about the hereafter, instead of the here and now.
There is a reason to look ahead to what's next. For the world, death is it. It's just emptiness and the end of things. For the world, death is natural! Those in Christ, however, know that death is NOT it. It never was supposed to be. Death is the curse. It is the result of sin in this world.
How God deals with death is a big deal. God Himself becomes man and dies. Jesus, the cross, bears our sins and suffers death. God dies to save us from His own curse! Now, death leads to eternal life. Death is not pleasant. It's not a happy thing. It's still the curse. But now it's a curse that has been defeated. When Jesus rose from the dead on Easter, death lost its sting.
Christians don't look to the life to come, because we are trying to escape this life. No, we live this life in the hope of the life to come. We live in this life knowing there IS something better, a time and place when our Lord comes back where there will be no more curse and sickness and death and sadness. That means, for life in this world, that we live in hope. We don't try to escape. We receive what comes to us with courage and hope in Christ, knowing that nothing can truly destroy us.
In fact, because our Baptism and the Gospel and the body and blood of Jesus are God's promise that we will live forever, we can live IN this world without the despair and hopelessness that those who mock Christians actually have. By looking forward to what is coming, we are not afraid to live with what is. There are better things to come on the Day the curse is no more. Until then, we live by faith in Jesus Christ, whose death means we have already conquered these things and whose resurrection shows us that the curse already has no more power. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Jerusalem the golden With milk and honey blest-- The promise of salvation, The place of peace and rest-- We know not, oh, we know not what joys await us there: The radiancy of glory, the bliss beyond compare. (LSB 672:1)
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.