|Posted on May 16, 2022 at 9:05 AM|
Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
From the Collect:
Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life:
It is in knowing God, and letting Him come near that we see the purpose of life and life eternal
From Rev21: See, the home of God is among mortals.He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away."
The experience of life eternal is not just the absence of pain and evil, but the nearness of God who, revealed fully as a truly good and loving Father, personally brings the comfort and healing that we need. He removes the sting of shame, suffering, and death from this life and replaces it with His great love.
From Psalm 148: 13 Let them praise the Name of the Lord, for his Name only is exalted, his splendor is over earth and heaven. 14 He has raised up strength for his people and praise for all his loyal servants, the children of Israel, a people who are near him. Hallelujah!
We worship forever as a natural response to who He is AND in joy to being near to Him. Likewise He delights in us, finally free and with him. A wedding supper, a feast, a real celebration.
Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life,
It is in knowing God in the person and mission of Christ that we understand the power of everlasting life
It is not just that God takes away the sufferings and curses of this life. It is not a nihilistic destruction, simple denial, or a magical wave of the hand—it is atoned for in the suffering and sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.
Colossians 2:13-14 - When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
The healed life that lasts forever is accomplished by our connection to Him by faith flowing from Christ’s eternal life.
Romans 6:4,8 - We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life… Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
Hebrews 7:16,24-25 - ….[He] who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life…But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
From The Gospel John 13: I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
So the main purpose and Joy of eternity is knowing God and experiencing being known and loved by Him.
The power of that life is the unending life of Christ, He is THE LIFE.
This purpose and power don’t just begin after this life; it begins now for the Christian. Hear how St. Paul prayed…
Ephesians 1:18-21 - I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
The Sacraments, prayer, fellowship, and the gifts and graces of the Spirit are given to us to experience God and therefore plant and water the seeds of eternal life (paraph. St. Irenaus of Lyon)
The Gospel reading today shows us the most excellent way: Love. It is in loving each other well that we sacramentally (Grace-filled) model the Love of God. It brings healing to our hearts now in the present. Brotherly (and sisterly!) love teaches us of the certainty of heaven by demonstrating God’s work in our lives. It stirs up more faith in the promises of God….For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.