After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Rev 7:9-10 NIV)
The Old Testament Church was limited. The New Testament Church is unlimited. It goes as far as the clouds travel and the winds blow. It is a communion of all those, who from the ends of the world are on their way to the eternal Zion. All people and nations are called to this communion. Whoever wants to see this one communion, will have to wait for the day, when this vision of St. John will be revealed and visible to all. Then he/she will see this multitude, that will be worthy of the King of kings and Lord of Lord. This gathering is the grand plan of the triune God throughout the ages. That has been his purpose and mission all along. At that time there will be nothing that will disturb the union. There will be no Jew nor gentile, no German nor Slav, no black nor white, no Semite or Arian. All these individual contempts, tribal antipathies, racial prejudices and national aversions will no longer be. There at last we will be truly one in Jesus Christ, the one and only Lord of all. Here our experience is still far removed from this grand design of the triune God and from his truth – but we are on the way there by his grace and calling. Amen.
Lord, our God. We are waiting for your eternal kingdom, where joy overflows and lovely being reigns. There at last that, which was separated and apart here, will be united in true fellowship and communion. There the gifts and treasures of your people around the world will be assembled before your throne to laud, praise and magnify your name. Let us here hold on this your grand design, mission and promise faithfully as we wait for its fulfilment on that wonderful day of your glorious return. Increase our joy and fill us with your peace so that we will live as your redeemed people here on earth. Keep us hopeful in the great expectations by thy mercies and profound love. Amen. (Wilhelm Löhe)
1. O blest communion, fellowship divine, We feebly struggle, they in glory shine; Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine. Alleluia! Alleluia!
2. But, lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day; The saints triumphant rise in bright array; The King of Glory passes on His way. Alleluia! Alleluia!
3. From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast, Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host, Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Alleluia! Alleluia!
4. The golden evening brightens in the west; Soon, soon, to faithful warriors cometh rest. Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blest. Alleluia! Alleluia! (William W. How, 1823-1887)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the 5th January during the high holiday of Ephiphany. It is found on Pg. 46 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.