Culture Redeemed

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Culture Redeemed


Peter Hubbard


May 8, 2020


Revelation, Revelation 21: 24


Hey, everyone. I’m Justin, and I want to welcome you to North Hills Church, especially if this is your first time joining us. We’re going to get started in just a few minutes. But first, here’s this week’s Need2Know. In last week’s elder update, Gregg outlined a four-stage plan of regathering in small groups all the way to the regular services. Here’s a quick recap of what you need to know for this week. Stage 1 looks like gathering in small groups in your homes to watch the recorded services together. In stage 2 we will be having multiple one-hour services across our campuses with online registration for you to sign up for a service time. Please watch the most recent elder update for more details about each stage. You can do this by texting “updates” to 864-999-2525. It will automatically send you a link to the most recent update when you subscribe to the list. During this stage, we will continue to post the sermon online so you can also view from your home. One important piece of this stage plan is that we may decide to skip a stage or go back to a stage if needed. Each Tuesday in our elder update, we will announce which stage we are in for that week. So, look for us to make an announcement this Tuesday evening regarding which stage we’ll be in for the May 17 service. Please be patient and continue to pray for wisdom for the elders as they consult with professionals and make decisions that best serve our church family.

During today’s sermon, Peter will be leading us in communion. If you haven’t prepared some bread and juice for the Lord’s Supper, please take a moment now to do so. There are so many opportunities to get connected at North Hills. Please visit the Need2Know section of our website to learn more about different ways to connect and get involved. That wraps up this week’s Need2Know. Have a great week, everyone.

Hey, North Hills. My name is Tim Wadsworth, and I oversee the Student Ministry for our church. Can you believe that this is our 9th straight Sunday of not gathering together? Unbelievable. I can’t begin to tell you how much we miss you and how much we can’t wait to be together again. And happy Mother’s Day weekend to all you mothers. I can’t begin to tell you how crucial your role is. Mothers are the backbone of every family, and I hope you’re getting spoiled today by your loved ones because you deserve it. Especially if you’re a part of the Alive Student Ministry family, your homework assignment today is to celebrate mom. If this season of quarantining has taught me anything, it’s that school teachers and mothers need a definite pay raise. And if you play both those roles, then you’re an absolute saint. Not only do we celebrate you today, but we celebrate you every day. Please know that my heart is to walk alongside you and your family as you continue to endure this pandemic season together and that we still find ourselves in. May God give you the peace that passes all understanding and just enough grace for today. Continue to take advantage of this priceless time we get with our households. I don’t know about you, but I’ve actually really enjoyed my normal busy and sometimes chaotic calendar to come to a halt. So, let’s remember that God can only give good gifts and let’s receive it with happy hearts as the King’s sons and daughters.

So, as we continue to worship together, I want to prepare our hearts by reading some of the words that we’re about to hear Ben sing over us from a song called “The Church’s One Foundation.” These lyrics are from an old classic hymn, while Ben rearranged the melody and added a very cool bridge that will certainly prepare our hearts and call our hearts to worship. Let’s sit in the presence of Father as we soak in this song together.

“‘Mid toil and tribulation, and tumult of her war, she waits the consummation of peace forevermore; ’till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blessed, and the great church victorious shall be the church at rest.”

Let me end my time with you by praying before we sing and hear Peter preach from the Word of God. We’re going to look at Revelation 21:24 where it says,

“By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring glory into it.”

What does that mean for this new heaven and new life? As I pray, I want many of you to also pray for Peter as God speaks through him to help us answer this question plus many more. Pray with me.

God, we love you. We praise you when things are good. God, we praise you when things are bad. God, we praise you when things are just kind of mediocre. God, I know that your Word tells us there’s two times that we should worship you — and it’s when we feel like it and when we don’t. So, God, no matter what season our hearts are in right now, we confess what is true and that you are the Lord of lords and you are the King of kings. And you are worthy of our praise no matter what it is that’s going on, because we know that you are the sovereign God who holds tomorrow. God, thank you that you are that type of God. So, right now, no matter where we are, whether we’re in our homes or we’re watching this from whatever city or state or anywhere in the world, God, we just want to sit in your presence. We want to hear from your Word. We want to give you all the glory in the good times and in the bad, in seasons where we can’t leave our homes, God, in seasons where we’re fearful for tomorrow. God, we praise you knowing that we are your children and you are our Dad. God, we love you. Be with us as we worship together as a church family. God, we look forward to the day when we can be back together. Man, I can’t wait. I’m so excited! There is no other name but the name of Jesus. So, we want that name to be lifted high even now. And we pray this in the name of Jesus. And all God’s people said, “Amen.” I love you, North Hills family.

Hello, everyone. My name is Jenny, and this Quinn, and we’re excited to be worshiping with you this morning. We’re going to start out with a song called, “Invitation Song.” Please join us as we sing.

Hey, everyone. I am so thankful for you. The more I think about your compassion over the past two months, your wisdom, your kindness, your patience, your flexibility, the way you have loved on one another and looked out for one another, the more I give thanks for you and consider it such a privilege to be a part of shepherding a group of people like you. You are the embodiment of what Hebrews 13:17 is describing, someone who is a joy to lead. I thank God for you. And I am excited to share that we are ready to regather.

Gregg, as Justin mentioned, has outlined four stages that our elder team has prepared. And just to remind you, we are ready to jump in or out of or over any one of those four stages. We don’t feel obligated to follow them. We could move up, and then based on circumstances, move back depending on what is wisest and safest and most loving for our people. But as of right now — and we’ll make a final decision this Tuesday, you’ll hear from Gregg — but we’re aiming to regather on May 17, a week from Sunday. And we have to remember our original goal. The original goal was not, as we were seeking to comply with the information we were given, was not to eliminate all coronavirus. That would be years from now. The original goal was to flatten the curve so that we don’t overwhelm the hospitals. And that, as far as we understand, has been achieved. So, Lord willing, we want to implement stage 2 next week, May 17.

Stage 2 is basically many small services at Northwest and Taylors. So, you would actually get online on Tuesday, and you and your family and/or life group will sign up for a particular service. We’ll have between 9 or 11, depending on how many sign up. And you might sign up for Northwest or you might sign up for Taylors auditorium at one of several times or the Community Room at one of several times or Alive Room. And we will be social distancing. We won’t be doing the group hug thing. We won’t be greeting one another with a holy kiss. I know it’s going to be hard. We are not shaking hands. We’ll be sitting with gaps to just be wise. So, we want to be upfront. It’s going to feel awkward. For example, if you’re in the auditorium, which can hold up to around 900 seats, and we’ll have less than 200, which complies with the 20% CDC recommendation, it’s going to feel a tad lonely and a bit awkward. We’re going to embrace the awkwardness, because it gives us a chance to move toward stage 4, which is back fully as normal. We’re going to take it one step at a time. We want to be sensitive. I cannot over emphasize the importance for you to not feel compelled to come if you feel physically vulnerable or even if you feel emotionally vulnerable. We want to love you well.

Remember, we started with love. We’re going to keep loving. If you feel vulnerable, we’re going to have the services live-streamed. Stay in your PJs, worship at home. We want you to move at your pace. If you come and you want to wear a mask or don’t want to wear a mask, we respect you either way. We just ask that you be kind and respect one another. We’re going to do our best to clean the facility in between services to make it as sanitary as possible. We won’t be passing around the offering plates. We’ll have boxes in the lobby. We’ll do everything we can to move forward one step at a time in a way that loves our neighbors well. So, stay tuned. On Tuesday we’ll make that decision. So, let’s ask God for wisdom. Could we do that together?

Father, as your people, with our brothers and sisters, we are asking for your wisdom. You promised it. You said if we ask, you will provide. And we need your wisdom in the midst of the chaos. There’s so much happening. There are political leaders who are leading well, there are others who seem to be abusing their power. There are people who are responding well; there are others who are not. There are companies who are responding wisely. There are some, some tech companies, who are actually using this time to shut down discussion and debate. New controversies and conspiracies arise daily. There is so much we don’t know, and that can leave us feeling vulnerable or powerless; therefore, we can react with anger or fear. Father, we are asking for the wisdom to respond appropriately because our confidence is in you. You are our refuge and strength. You are a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear. You will be exalted among the nations. You will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress. Please, now, as we come under your Word, we pray that you would teach us, speak to us, fill us with your Spirit. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

If you’ll grab a Bible and turn to Revelation 21. If you’re not sure where that is, go to the very end of the Bible, and come back one page, Revelation 21. As you turn, I want to stir your memory a bit. In book 6, chapter 4 of “The Lord of the Rings,” Samwise asked a question loaded with meaning. He was barely awake, the battles were over, the ring was destroyed. He and Frodo had been transported, unconscious, to the land of Ithilien. He thought he was dead. He thought Gandalf was dead. But then he asked this question. “Is everything sad going to come untrue?” Is everything sad going to come untrue? This is an interesting question because it’s a different question from, is everything sad going to become happy? Or, is everything bad no longer going to make me sad? Those are different questions. This question is getting at a kind of joy that works backwards, a retroactive joy, if you will.

C.S. Lewis quoted some mortals in his book, “The Great Divorce.” And the mortals were arguing that there is no bliss in heaven that can compensate for the suffering of this life. And Lewis responded,

“Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into glory.”

So, this joy is so powerful, so pervasive, that it not only affects the present and the future, but it also affects the past. In Revelation 21:4 (a couple of weeks ago, we looked at this), we are told that the former things have passed away. We are now in a tear-free, sadness-free, death-free world. But for some of us, that can feel fake, inauthentic. How can I be authentic without that kind of sorrow? But then the one who is seated on the throne, the next verse said,

“Behold, I am making all things new.”

And then he went on to describe himself as the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. This One who exists above and beyond all time is transforming all things in time as new.

“Behold, I am making all things new.”

He is the One who is renewing all things. Therefore, as Ryan explained last week at the end of his passage in verses 22-27, everything sinful and everything sorrowful is gone. No temple, because the rift between God and man, gone. No need of sun or moon to keep time or give light. No shut gates because, there’s no insecurity. No night with all its uncertainty and evil. No uncleanness. Everything that is false and fake and hypocritical is gone.

But there are two statements that Ryan didn’t have time to cover. We knew that, and I was going to come back. We planned for me to come back and cover these two statements this week, if you’ll look at verse 24, this is Revelation 21:24.

“By its light [Its light, that is the glory of God and the lamp of the Lamb] will the nation’s walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.”

The “it” there is the new Jerusalem, the new heaven and new earth. Skip over to verse 26.

“They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.”

So, the nations (kings) are bringing something into the new heaven and new earth. Now, does that negate the common assumption that there are only two things from this earth that are going to live forever — the Word of God and the souls of men. There’s something else the nations are bringing in — perhaps some kind of ultimate hostess gift. What are they bringing in? What specifically is this glory and honor that they are bringing into the new heaven and new earth? There are a couple options, let me just give you two. One is, this is talking about they’re offering up praise to God. That’s what this glory and honor is, this praise to God. The nations who previously refused to give glory to God but instead gave glory to themselves or their idols are now giving glory to the true Creator and King. Is that true? Yes, absolutely. There’s no question that this passage is referring to nations that previously did not give God glory, now giving God glory in a verbal offering of praise.

But let’s talk about this second option as well, because while I believe they’re offering verbal praise, I think they’re doing something more. And this second option is, they are offering praise, yes, but also culture to God, culture to God. In verse 24 and 26, we are seeing culture redeemed. Divine creation and human culture merge in an unprecedented beauty to the glory of God. You say, “Well, where’d you get that?” Let me mention three things that will help us come to that conclusion.

Number 1, notice the movement in this passage, the movement. What I mean by that are the verbs. If you look back up to verse 10 and verse 11, John is carried away in the Spirit to a great high mountain, and he’s shown the holy city of Jerusalem coming down. Notice, the verb, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. But then skip down to verse 24, now,

“By its light [glory of God] will the nations walk.”

By the way, that word walk is more than talk. He’s talking about a lifestyle. It’s not just giving verbal praise, it’s talking about a way of living, a way of conducting yourself. So, it’s more than just singing or talking.

“By its light [the glory of God] will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.”

So, notice the movement. God’s glory is coming down in this city. Man’s glory is being brought into it. It’s vital to see that movement. This is the converging, the merging, of human achievement with heavenly splendor to the glory of God. This is the ultimate fulfillment of the prayer we pray every day: your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The movement.

Secondly, notice the location. In verse 10 and verse 23 we see we’re talking about a city. Now jump forward to verse 1 of chapter 22.

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life [We’re going look at this next week.], bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; [So, we’re still talking about a city.] also, on the other side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

The tree of life. So, verse 2 is talking about a tree of life. The tree of life was in the midst of the what, back in Genesis 2:9? Yeah, the tree of life was in the midst of the garden. So, you have here a garden in a city. The Garden of Eden, new and improved, is now merged with the city of God. And the nations and the kings are bringing something into this city. They’re contributing something. They’re building something. They’re adding something to the glory of God. Listen to what Ian Smith writes.

“This is an interesting contrast, as it is God who planted the garden in Eden (Genesis 2:8), but throughout history, it has always been humans who have built cities. The fact that our final home is a garden within a city brings together all that God has made with all that humans have achieved.”

Now stop there for a second. All that God has made with all that humans have achieved. That’s the definition of culture. I’ve talked in the past about a bigger definition, a more comprehensive definition of culture. But the most concise definition of culture is, God creates, we cultivate. God makes, we make something of what he’s made. He gives, we gather. We do something with what God has done in a variety of ways, any way, is culture. So, we see here the definition of culture.

“All that God has made with all that humans have achieved [keep reading]. God delights in human beauty and achievement …. Our creativity, purged of sinful arrogance, will find a new significance. The garden is in the city. Human effort and divine glory can exist in perfect harmony if the effects of sin are eradicated.”

This is what Jesus came to accomplish. Jesus, the carpenter, dying, rising to redeem people and culture. The movement, the location — garden in the city.

Now look at number 3, the source. The source, the source of these promises. Where do these promises in Revelation 21 come from? Well, most specifically, they come from Isaiah 60. Let me show you. I’m going to put the words up. I want to quote a couple big sections from Isaiah 60 so you can see it for yourselves.

Isaiah 60:1-3, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”

So, nations that were in darkness come to the light of God and his people. And if you keep reading down to verse 5, you’ll notice he talks about “the wealth of the nations” coming to you, and God pouring out mercy.

Verse 11, “Your gates shall be open continually [sound familiar? Revelation 21]; day and night they shall not be shut, that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste [Revolution 18, Revelation 19]. The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the plane [or fir], and the pine, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious.”

What is he talking about there, the glory of Lebanon? All of that is taking us back to 1 Kings 5 when the King Hiram, the king of Lebanon, is providing cedar and cypress timber to Solomon for the building of the temple. 1 Kings 5:18, you see Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders working together, preparing stone and timber for God’s temple. All of that is pointing forward to the new heaven and the new earth. Keep reading in Isaiah 60:19.

“The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land [How long?] forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.”

So, God is bringing together his people and the nations to a land they will possess forever. A real people in a real place with no mourning and no sadness. Everything sad has come untrue. But this promise of everything sad coming untrue is more than an emotional one. It’s also a cultural one. Everything incomplete, unrealized, unfulfilled, unfinished comes untrue.

Jerram Barrs is a professor at Covenant Seminary. He tells of a conversation he had with a child in his church. The child’s parents had been reading to him “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and the child confided in his pastor, Pastor Barrs.

“I don’t really want to go to heaven when I die. I want to go to Narnia.”

Now, this is cute, but tragic. Do we portray eternity as so ethereal, so unreal, so void of anything material or familiar that even Narnia seems more relatable, more attractive to us or to this child? Don’t miss the fact that in Revelation 21. The new heavens and the new earth are the merging of heaven with the best of earth. Heaven is coming to earth in this new Jerusalem. And the new earth is not a different earth from the earth we live on now. So, in one sense, we can say this world is not my home, this world system. But in another sense, we can sing this world is my home, new and improved.

How do we know this world, sorry, this earth is going to be our final home? Well, there are passages, specifically like 2 Peter 3:10, that are used to counteract that view. But I want you to look at this verse. 2 Peter 3:10,

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”

This is one of the primary verses used to argue that “it’s all gonna burn.” Now, it is “all gonna burn,” but it’s interesting if you look carefully at these words. For example, I was looking at all the uses of this word “dissolved.” It’s the word “luo,” which has a wide semantic domain. It can be translated as to loose, to set free, to dissolve, to destroy. This is the same word Jesus used in John 2:19 when he said, pointing to the temple, “Destroy this temple,” and in three days “I will [What?] raise it up.” Destroy. So, whatever destroy means, whatever dissolve means, it doesn’t mean that it is unredeemable. Just like Jesus’ body was destroyed, as he said, it was raised up; so, this earth and everything we see in it, around it, will be destroyed but then redeemed into a new heaven and a new earth.

Why is this so significant? Let me just give you two of many reasons why it’s so important to understand that God will redeem culture. Two reasons. Number 1, because what we do matters. What we do matters. I talk to people fairly consistently who live with a low grade sense of futility, that what they do doesn’t really matter on the big scale of things. If they were maybe a missionary or a popular author who was selling a lot of books that changed people’s lives, then maybe that would matter. But what they do doesn’t matter because they just cook delicious meals, or they are just crafting great cabinets, or writing educational curriculum, or cleaning dirty toilets, or writing insightful poems, or designing stylistic clothing, or calculating accurate spreadsheets, coding helpful apps, stocking empty shelves, building fine homes, painting beautiful art, developing great companies.

What permanent use is that? Somehow it seems lesser to many because “It’s all gonna burn.” True, it is all going to burn. But what if “It’s all gonna burn,” means it’s all going to be purified as by fire (1 Corinthians 3:13, 2 Peter 3:10), not permanently eliminated? What if everything good we do now, no matter how big or small, really matters because it’s all going to be purified, new and improved, and brought into the new heaven and the new earth? That how we worship and how we play today actually matters, because in a very real way, it is a dress rehearsal, but more. It is a way we are preparing for living forever in the new heaven and the new earth. Thomas Schreiner says it this way.

“It seems John is saying that every good and beautiful thing from the old creation will be in the new creation. Nothing of beauty will be lost. Instead, it will be present in a perfected and incorruptible way.”

What we do matters. This is so significant. Secondly, and most importantly, because God receives the glory he deserves. Because God receives the glory. What we do matters, and God receives the glory he deserves. Those two come together. Have you noticed today that every time there’s a major problem in our country, about half of our country cries out for prayer, and about half of our country cries out for us to do something? You know, there’s a mass shooting or there’s a crisis of poverty or there’s a debt explosion or there’s a pandemic, and half crying out, “We’ve got to pray,” and half saying, “No, no, no, no, no, we don’t need to pray, we need to do something.” Is anybody else bothered by that dichotomy, as if biblical trust and physical action are at odds? As if biblical faith and true science are incompatible? I’m not talking about scientism, which is when science is kidnapped for personal agenda. But I’m talking about true science, true faith, as if those are at odds. Apart from God’s common grace, there is no math, there is no science, there is no art. All of them are meaningless. And what we’re learning in Revelation 21 is, finally in the new heaven and the new earth the veil is removed. Let me show you it in verse 23. Look back to Revelation 21:23,

“And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and it’s lamp is the Lamb.”

Now just stop and think about that. For the first time, everyone’s going to be able to visibly see, “Oh, that’s the source of every speck of energy and insight. It’s not just the sun. It’s not just “Mother Nature.” It’s not just universities, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment. The veil is going to be pulled back, and we’re going to be able to visibly see, it’s the glory of God, the lamp of the Lamb. Look what he goes on to say,

“By its light will the nations walk [They’re actually, we’re ordering our lives, solving problems. There is such a thing up there, down here.], and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.”

So, God’s radiant glory is finally seen as the source of man’s responsive glory. The two meet. It’s not just that everything sad comes untrue, but also everything fake, corrupt, toxic, everything oppressive, destructive, painful, all of it becomes untrue and culture is redeemed.

So, in light of this, how does this change the way you think about your work — what you do every day at home, the job site, in the office? How does this change the way you think about your studies? How you solve a math problem? How you go about working on projects and writing papers? How does this change the way you think about involvement in the community? Pouring into the betterment of society? How does this change the way you use your creativity, your God-given creativity? Does it help to blur the lines between the sacred and the secular? And if so, in what ways? These are questions we need to spend some time wrestling with and talking to God and one another about. If God is calling us to do all to the glory of God, “whether we eat or drink.” In other words, no matter how mundane (This from 1 Corinthians 10:31), no matter how mundane, no matter how normal it feels, do all to the glory of God because it’s all going somewhere in the new heaven and the new earth.

So, I want us to practice right now. If you have bread nearby (If you didn’t prepare, it’s okay), but if you have bread nearby, some juice or wine, you could go ahead and grab those. Because it is interesting that when Jesus chooses the elements for the Lord’s Supper, he chooses cultural elements. What do I mean by cultural elements? He could have chosen grain and water or grapes. But instead, he chose bread and wine or grape juice. These are cultivated products. Human culture is pointing to the greatest of divine miracles, anticipating the day when heaven comes down, and the kings and the nations bring their glory into it. What is the greatest of all divine miracles? The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. And this is the miracle that makes Revelation 21:24 and 26 possible. And as we prepare to remember Christ’s death, I want to read Colossians 1:13-20, the section that our Women’s Bible Study recently studied, because he tells us here how Jesus wins, what we’ve described in Revelation 21, how he brings it about.

Colossians 1:13, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness [this dark kingdom] and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things [Let me say that again. To reconcile to himself all things, people, culture], whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of the cross.”

This is the means by which heaven and earth merge. Let’s examine our hearts as we prepare to partake. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, if your faith is in Jesus, then we welcome you wherever you are. You can be in your PJs at your home, wherever you are, to partake the Lord’s Supper. If you would take a piece of bread. “This bread,” Jesus said, “is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood,” Jesus said. “For as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.” Until he comes, we remember him.

I want to end our time together with a benediction from Revelation 18, which is likewise describing this merging of heaven and earth. So, let’s end our time — you may want to hold your hands out wherever you are — receive this gift from God and give glory to God.

“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.’ And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, ‘We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.’”

Father, we do long for that day when all that is sorrowful and all that is sinful is destroyed and transformed, made untrue so that your goodness and your greatness and all that you have done in and through your people would be made true. May we live today with the confidence of what you will do in that day. May it fuel us to do the most mundane and the most beautiful for your glory, in Jesus’ name, amen.