Advent: December 23

Revelation 19:6-10

Then I heard what seemed to be a large crowd that sounded like a roaring flood and loud thunder all mixed together. They were saying, "Praise the Lord! Our Lord God All-Powerful now rules as king. So we will be glad and happy and give him praise. The wedding day of the Lamb is here, and his bride is ready. She will be given a wedding dress made of pure and shining linen. This linen stands for the good things God's people have done."

Then the angel told me, "Put this in writing. God will bless everyone who is invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb." The angel also said, "These things that God has said are true."

I knelt at the feet of the angel and began to worship him. But the angel said, "Don't do that! I am a servant, just like you and everyone else who tells about Jesus. Don't worship anyone but God. Everyone who tells about Jesus does it by the power of the Spirit."

So this is what heaven is like. No nooks, no quiet rooms, no denominations, no clubs (and you may as well forget the golf clubs, too!). I’m sure we have an ideal of what we’d like heaven to be. At a recent funeral I conducted the young grandsons told the assembled mourners that Grandad would be having a quiet cigarette and a whisky – to them that would be heaven.

The difficulty I have in describing heaven is that it is beyond my imagination, and certainly beyond words, as any reader of the Book of Revelation will confess. Think of something amazing – heaven will be better than that. Think of the best meal you’ve ever had, and Grandma’s apple pie – heaven will be better than that, and there’ll be no gluttony or indigestion. Think of the best loving relationships – the host will know us better than anyone has ever known us, and we’ll also know him better, and everyone else at the feast, too. Think of the best holiday experience you’ve had. Heaven beats any of them.

And so on, and so on, into eternity…

The marriage feast, the wedding supper of the Lamb is the best act of hospitality ever. God has prepared an eternal feast for his Son, Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God. It’s a wedding feast, better than that at Cana, better than the earthly feasts in Jesus’ parables which are all hinting at this feast to end all feasts. Jesus is the Bridegroom, and the Church is the Bride.

The Church is the gathering of all believers from across the world over the centuries. It consists of all those who have committed themselves to Christ as a bride does to her groom (and vice versa) on her wedding-day. We will come together to celebrate this union.

This is not a private function. All are invited. Remember, however, the parable of the bridesmaids. All were invited, but half of them had not prepared themselves. The door was shut to them.

How do I get tickets for my as yet uninvited friends?

Who will invite those who haven’t yet heard?

Will we remember in heaven the ones who did not make the feast?

How do I tell others about it?

Father God, I cannot get my created head around Your eternity. An eternal marriage supper is way beyond my comprehension, but You know that. Would You reveal through your Holy Spirit a better understanding of all these things and inspire in me a deep desire to see my family, my friends, my colleagues and those You bring me into contact with come into a true faith in Your love shown in Christ Jesus. In his name. Amen.

Scripture taken from the Contemporary English Version © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.


 

Paul