Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city shall be built to the LORD (Jer 31:38 KJV)
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Mat 5:14 KJV)
The Lord our God has done great things in Jesus Christ our Saviour. One of the most awesome miracles and wonders is his institution and setup of the one holy Christian Church – the city of God. This is truly magnificent and wonderful even if we can only observe some glimpses of it now and again, yet it has spread across the entire globe and it has become the beloved sanctuary and refuge, the hospital and hospice, the temple and place of worship for countless faithful. It is the ongoing and salvific divine service being carried out in God’s name and authority, creating saving faith where and when it pleases him. His holy law is preached, taught, confessed, learnt, heard and obeyed just as his most gracious gospel is believed, trusted and all trust and confidence is built upon it. His gracious forgiveness is dealt out in richest measure, it is shared and received with grateful and joyful hearts as the praises and glories of the Lord resound throughout the universe by all things visible and invisible. It is the communion of saints from the very beginning and encompasses those already glorified just as those, who are still bearing their cross in faithful obedience, but also with his gifts of undying hope and unrelenting love. A fellowship and brotherhood uniting all nations, tribes and languages of this world – bringing together traditional enemies, breaching ancient barriers and rifts and making them one in the closely knit communion of those forgiven, redeemed and liberated by the gracious favour of our Lord and maker, our saviour and redeemer, the very crucified, risen and reigning Jesus Christ – very God of very God. We all participate in the fellowship and union of the holy, gracious and efficacious gifts of our Lord – his forgiveness of all our sins and iniquities – shared through his most precious Word and sacraments of holy Baptism as the regeneration through water and the Holy Spirit and his very body and blood given for us into death on Golgotha and shed for the remission of all our sins right there – outside the city of Jerusalem.
Our Lord has founded his wonderful city – the Church – and it has magnified beyond the wildest dreams. The wonderful thing is that this is still happening even today. The Church is constantly pushing its borders further and further into the realms of darkness, spreading light, live and blessed salvation. The Church is gathering more and more of those, who also belong to the Lord Jesus Christ into its very fold. He is still sending out workers into the harvest to gather in those, who have been elected and predestined from the ends of the world. Our Lord wants all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth. That is why there is no relenting in spreading the good tidings of God’s favour and mercies until he comes again to judge the living and the dead. Until then it is still day and time to throw out the nets in his name and authority. Watering the vines, olive and fig trees, digging around them, pruning them and gathering in the harvest of our Lord and God. It is he, who is the vine and the gardener. Without him, we can do nothing. Yet in and with and through him we can do and endure and bear all and everything. Ask and it will be given to you. If you, who are evil can give your children good things, how much more will the Lord give his Holy Spirit to them, who ask him? Therefore don’t tire, but continue to plead and request, ask and you will receive a full and overflowing measure of grace and goodness, because the Lord is good and his mercy endures for ever.
The Lord is going about his work relentlessly – even as we tire, fall back and sometimes even give up, fail and corrupt. The Lord’s work and especially his wonderful creation of the Word – the holy and lovely Church – is being prepared most magnificently and delightfully to meet him as his very own and specially nurtured Church and holy congregation of the forgiven sinners, the most holy saints and communion of believers. Already we can have a peak or two – here and there – when the sun breaks through the clouds, but the time is coming, when we will see it as it is – perfect, holy and absolutely beautiful, without blemish, fault or scratch befitting him, who is all in all, the bridegroom and head of the Church. Then all sorrow and trouble of sin and evil, godlessness and faithless shortcomings will be forgotten and past. Joy and peace and divine bliss will prevail. And all and everyone will see and acknowledge, praise and worship the one, who said: I am the light of the world +
He has lit up the light and it will never succumb to darkness again – nor shall we ever be overcome by the darkness either. For we are of the light and his light shines in us. That faith and confidence will be seriously afflicted when we hurt and will not be able to help ourselves anymore, when our eyes are closed by others for the last time and when they shut us up in the narrow confines of the uncomfortable and unhomely coffin and lay us down to rest in the dark ground. Yet, he has promised, that he will not forsake us nor let us be pulled from his hand. So, even in that last hour, we’ll be enveloped by his light and carried through by his might – through to the everlasting life and salvation in his most gracious and beautiful light. He has promised the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. That promise is what our faith is based on and because he is faithful and because he will surely do it, that is why we are of good hope and full of confidence now and forever. Amen.
1 I want to walk as a child of the light;
I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world;
The star of my life is Jesus.
In him there is no darkness at all;
The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.
2 I want to see the brightness of God;
I want to look at Jesus.
Clear Sun of Righteousness, shine on my path
And show me the way to the Father. [Refrain]
3 I’m looking for the coming of Christ;
I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race,
We shall know the joy of Jesus. [Refrain]
Kathleen Thomerson * 1934