Sermon for May 16, 2010
Coming Soon, Morning or Night or Noon”
Rev. Jim Merritt
Trinity MCC Gainesville
May 16, 2010
Begin immediately with “Jesus Is Coming Soon” 1:53
Hallelujah, Glory to God! Isn’t that wonderful news? Jesus is coming soon, morning or night or noon, heavenward bound. You just heard about 30 seconds worth of why I’ve loved Vestal Goodman and her music since I was a little boy about 5 years old. We were in Winter Haven, Florida at the Citrus Dome when I first looked up, heard that voice and saw that amazing hair and knew for a fact that this woman and I would travel a long road together. And so my sisters and brothers, Jesus IS coming soon. It’s another one of those “Both/And’s” that we’ve heard about here. It is both true that Jesus has come to us over and over again and that Jesus is coming again, morning or night or noon, and that all of us are heavenward bound. That stirs the old Bapticostal in me in ways that not much else will. And guess where all this good and exciting news comes from this morning; it comes from the book of Revelation. Not woo woo, not scary, no charts or maps or lists needed. Jesus is coming soon. Let’s look at the reading.
We start this reading again in that pattern that is now becoming familiar to us, where John, not the apostle but more than likely another John, refers back to the Hebrew Bible. Isaiah 40: 10 says, “See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him, “ and our Revelation reading says, “See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work.” This is a moment of fulfillment for John. A moment when the prophesy of the Hebrew Bible is about to be fulfilled. And notice in the next verse, language that has previously been reserved for God is now assigned to Jesus, “the Alpha and the Omega” the beginning and the end. This is the first time we’ve seen a writer refer to Jesus in that manner. And in many ways, like we have attempted to do during these sermons from Revelation, John attempts to alleviate the fear of anticipation. You see, no one at this time and place in history believed it would be more than 2,000 years before the return of Christ. They honestly believed he would be back tomorrow, maybe next week, perhaps a month or two from that very moment, but certainly not thousands of years later. And, as is almost always the case, this fear of the unknown, this sense of an impending event that carries with is some at least underlying anxiety. And John tells them and I might add that he is telling us, simply, Be ready.” Keep your clothes washed, keep your house clean and be ready. Now let’s be clear that John is not just writing about physical garments and physical homes. He includes those while he is referring to much more important aspects of cleanliness and readiness. He means we need to keep our minds and our bodies and our spirits ready. He means we are to do our best to live in that Garment of Salvation, in that Garment of Love that we’ve been learning about during this study. He means we need to keep our spiritual houses in order and to therefore be ready for the return of Christ to our physical and spiritual world. This is like a new statement in the Beatitudes; you remember that whole list of attributes that begins with the phrase, “Blessed are…” Now we are blessed as we put on the garment of Christ. We are blessed as we love one another. We are blessed as we love the stranger. We are blessed as we treat one another with kindness, respect and compassion. We are blessed as we learn to walk in the ways of Christ, and do not miss this important point; we are blessed both individually as we take on this manner of living and we are blessed as a church as we take them on together. These are the ways we become that Bride of Christ mentioned in verse 17. And hear what the Spirit and the Bride are saying, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come.” Wilfrid J. Harrington says, “It is the marana tha, Come, Lord Jesus, come!” And the church and the bride are crying out to all people saying, Come, Let the Spirit and the Bride say, Come! Let all who hear say, Come! Let all who are thirsty say, Come! Let all who are hungry say, Come! Let all God’s people say, Come, Lord Jesus Come. Maranatha – Come, Lord Jesus, Come and let anyone who wishes take this water of life as a gift. And what a wonderful gift it is.
Jesus is coming soon, morning or night or noon and you and I, all of us are heavenward bound. Hear the final words of the Book of Revelation in the words of Jesus, “Surely I am coming soon.” Sisters; Brothers, Jesus has come and Jesus is coming, to our lives, to our hearts, to our minds, to our homes, to our workplaces, to our city, to our world and to our church. Let the Bride and the Spirit say Maranatha, Come, Lord Jesus, Come!
Coming soon…morning or night or noon…heavenward bound. May the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen and amen.
Revelation 22: 12—14, 16—21
“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. “It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift. The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.