True and faithful
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.”
How many times do we attend funerals and other functions where words of commendation given about the person at the center of attention, are just “words” or as I knew him or her sometimes causes one to cringe, knowing full well that the flowery words are as far from the truth.
What about accolades and letters of recommendations that are so well written, but once the person gets the job, their performance and work ethic goes contrary to what was written about them.
Some years ago on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., a group photograph was taken of the freshmen in the United States midterm elections. As I looked at it on screen, I knew that they did not get there by just climbing those steps, but that each and every one of them had to go through a process of proven leadership before voters would even consider them. And yes, another midterm election comes November 6. There will be many freshmen. I am praying for a dear friend of mine who is really in the thick of things for his Senate seat.
A story coming out of Bucharest, Romania, tells of a young man who was jilted four days before his marriage. Determined not to let anything change his plans of getting married on the selected day, he decided to marry the girl who would fit into the wedding dress and her finger must also fit the ring. He advertised, and like Cinderella and the glass slipper, many applied.
But did he find a bride? He sure did, because not too far from where he lived on the same street was a lovely young lady who was the perfect fit for the dress and ring; he said that it was love at first sight and they were happy to marry. Per their custom the man purchased the ring and dress. He went so far as to suggest that other men begin to buy a dress and ring and marry the woman with the perfect fit. Not too bad an idea.
Marriage is all about being true and faithful. Sometimes we wonder why we have so many ills in our country. Marriages are the bedrock for families and where there are dysfunctional families there is bound to be a dysfunctional nation. How many persons are in leadership positions in every category and are not true and faithful to vows given; and because we do not uphold laws and correct wrong, the non-harmonic beat goes on and the “dance” is out of sync.
In our lesson text today, John writes from the lonely and deserted Isle of Patmos where he has been banished to die, but what an atmosphere to receive revelation and visions from God. This is the only prophetic book in the New Testament and is sometimes called the Apocalypse. It gathers up preceding prophecies respecting the coming of the Messiah with the theme throughout “behold I come quickly.”
John says he saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth each disappeared. “I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne, now God’s home is with people. He will live with them and they shall be his people. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.”
Then the one who sits on the throne said “And now I make all things new!”
Promises, promises and more promises are given in and out and most of the times it is only for pacification and liberation from those seeking help. The promises, which Solomon said is only comfort for a fool, spawns expectation into frustration and bitterness.
The word “and” is powerful. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines “and” as connecting two identical words, implying great duration or great extent. How many are true but not faithful or faithful but not true. The late Mother Harriet Darling of The Mission Baptist Church, Hay Street, was a true and faithful constant; every Sunday she was the first to arrive at church for Sunday School to learn and to teach. Her soul reaches out for her just reward.
Today we pray to God that our lives will follow the road marked “true and faithful” so we will become residents of God’s kingdom.