[This is the 5th post in a series of blogs about what we do on Sunday mornings at New City Church, Macon written by Keith Watson and Arthur Lin]
In the story of Creation, we read that God looked at the heavens and earth and they were "good." He placed the crown of creation, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, created especially for them and declared that it was "very good." As we have discussed, sin very quickly changed all of that. Humanity would be separated from God, and every new generation would bear sin's curse, but the curse of sin extended beyond humanity to all of creation. The Apostle Paul reminds us of that in Romans 8:20 where he describes creation itself as “subjected to futility” and in bondage to corruption.
This was clearly not the way things started. And the good news is that it is not the way things will end!
The Old Testament is filled with visions of the Kingdom that God promised to bring. Those in the Kingdom will be His redeemed – forgiven and made Holy as we have seen through Jesus. But more than that, the Kingdom and all of those in the Kingdom will be made whole – all of the brokenness caused by sin fixed. In the Kingdom, there will be no more suffering, no more sickness, no more sadness, no more disease and no more death. The prophets of the Old Testament tell us that the land in His Kingdom will bring forth incredible and abundant fruit. John gets a glimpse of this Kingdom in the book of Revelation and describes the sea as glass – calm, smooth and beautiful. The storms of life will be over, and in that Kingdom His people will enjoy Him forevermore… just as was pictured in the beginning.
We end our services each week with the Lord’s Supper, singing and words of encouragement. During this time, we look back to the cross and celebrate all that Jesus has done to redeem us and bring us to our Father. We also look forward during this time to the day that Jesus comes back to fully and finally fix all that is broken and establish His Kingdom forevermore. We take the bread and the juice with hearts filled with both thanksgiving and hope. There is much to celebrate!
As much as this closing time is a time of celebration, it is also a joyful call to action. We are reminded as we both look back and look forward that we live, here and now, in the middle, in the time after His death and resurrection but before His return and the great restoration to come. This is the time and place for mission, God’s continued mission. We are reminded that there are others who need to celebrate with us and who need the great hope of restoration that is ours. Each week we end the service, encouraged, hopeful and reminded of God’s great commission to share the good news with those we encounter in our day-to-day lives. Our hope rests in Jesus and His return, restoring all things!