Dear Church Family,
Over the New Year’s Day weekend, my wife and I traveled to southern California where I had the privilege of officiating the wedding of Micah and Artemis. It was wonderful to be a part of their wedding ceremony and celebrations. The weather in southern California was extremely pleasant, as well! Unfortunately, however, our travel experience left something to be desired, to say the least.
On Friday, we were scheduled to have about seven hours of travel; however, due to getting fogged in at the Midland airport, our travel time turned into 19 ½ hours (we ended up flying from Midland to Houston to Las Vegas to San Juan to San Diego). We completely missed the wedding rehearsal on Friday, but thankfully made it in plenty of time for the for the Saturday afternoon wedding. On Monday, we were again scheduled to have about seven hours of travel back home; however, due to getting fogged in at the San Diego airport, our travel time turned into 18 hours (because of the delays and cancelled flights in San Diego, we had to check our bags twice and go through airport security three times (though I was only patted down twice)).
Suffice it to say that while we enjoyed the wedding, I felt a little bit like Jack Lemmon’s character in The Out of Towners. We were very glad to finally get home! As I’ve reflected upon our traveling difficulties to attend the wedding ceremony and celebrations, it got me to thinking about the spiritual sojourn of the Church – how our travel travails of this past weekend are a small illustration of the spiritual sojourn of the Church.
Spiritual Warfare and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
You see, the Scriptures describe the present life of the Church in terms of spiritual warfare. Believers enjoy the Lord’s protection and sustenance until Jesus’ second coming; however, we are also the Church militant: those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus are at war with sin and with the devil himself (Revelation 12:13-17). So, we ought to expect great difficulties in our spiritual pilgrimage.
Yet, the Scriptures also describe the climax of redemption as a glorious ceremony and celebration of the marriage supper of the Lamb. On that future day, the Lord will gather His people together, and there will be great rejoicing in His presence (Revelation 19:1-9). So, there are some similarities between my and my wife’s travel experiences of this past weekend and the Church’s pilgrimage to the marriage supper of the Lamb; however, there are at least three major differences.
First, while our attendance at the wedding was a round-trip, the spiritual pilgrimage of God’s people is a one-way journey. The tabernacle of God will be among men, and He will dwell among them. He will wipe away every tear; there will be no longer be any death, mourning, crying, or pain because the Lord will make all things new (Revelation 21:1-8).
Second, the blessings of the marriage supper of the Lamb will not be for only one day, but will last for all eternity. The curse will be removed, there will no longer be any night because the Lord God will illumine His bond-servants, and we will reign forever and ever with Him (Revelation 22:1-7).
Third and finally, next to the sufferings of this world, the Lord will reveal to us the incomparable glory of life in the new creation (Romans 8:18). When all is said and done, from the perfected state of glory, we will look back upon the travails and warfare of this life and consider them to be inconsequential when compared to the rewards of heaven.
In light of these things, as we begin a new year, let us resolve to press on so that we may lay hold of that for which also we have been laid hold of by Christ Jesus; let us resolve to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, and meditate upon our citizenship which is in heaven (Philippians 3:12-21).
The Lord be with you!
- Pastor Peter M. Dietsch