READ: Malachi 4, Matthew 28, Mark 16, Acts 28, Revelation 22

BEGINNINGS

The Alpha is the Omega. God does not change and He who ends things starts things, He who is the end is the beginning. God is humanity’s end. When we long for His salvation (Psalm 119:174), we are in reality longing for Himself. God is humanity’s eternal beginning. At the re-creation of all things, we shall see His face (Rev. 22:4). Bounded history is in fact quite unimportant in the grand scope of things, for eternity is what matters. God was from eternity past and He offers us the joy of eternity with Him. The entire earthly existence of humanity is but a blink when laid on the grid of God. We are unable to grapple with eternity past, but are better prepared to appreciate eternity future as we are designed to participate in it.

Christian endings should be pure joy.  Christian funerals should be the purest celebrations. When a man or woman is promoted to the presence of Jesus, our gut level response should be praise and thanks. Another soul has begun their pure, curse-free eternity. Another child of God is forever liberated from the internal curse of personal sin and the external pain of sin’s communal consequences. When a Christian ends this blink of a breath that we know as earthly life, they drink of the pure river of life (Rev. 22:1), they are in the unmitigated presence of Jesus (v. 3), seeing Him as He is (v. 4), with no more night or darkness (v. 5). When we cry at funerals, let it not be because we are feeling sorry for ourselves. Rather, let it be because a holy jealousy ignites within us to be with our loved one and the Beloved.

Jesus wants us to live with an active longing for His return. The gospels end with a stirring call to preach the gospel in all the world. Latent within this command is a longing for Jesus to return. The gospel must be preached in all the world, among every nation, before we get to go home (Matt. 24:14).  When the followers of Jesus launch to the most difficult places on earth, it is with blended motives: We want to go home, we want to begin our curse-free eternity, and we want as many of our variegated brothers and sisters as possible to begin anew with us. We do not passively sit in this world like an infant in a crib with arms outstretched, crying in solitude for our Heavenly Father to lift us from our confined space and change our defiled diaper. We rush around the nursery of earth knowing that when there are enough babies who lift their voices crying for the coming of the Lord, He will come for us, resplendent in His glory. This nursery of fallen earth has some nice toys, but by faith we can peer outside the portals of this world into the great outdoors of God’s great heaven, God’s renewed earth. We cry: “Come, Lord Jesus!” He replies: “Surely, I am coming quickly.”

The end of each year reminds us that our ultimate beginning will be soon upon us. Let us not stop longing for the coming of Jesus. Little endings and transitions help us hope for our final beginning.

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