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World Without End

May 7, 2022 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
May 8, 2022
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Easter 4
World Without End

They shall no longer hunger, nor thirst; the sun shall not beat upon them nor any scorching heat: For the Lamb upon the throne will shepherd them and lead them to the springs of living waters, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelation 7:16-17
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Is it not curious that those branches of Christianity that claim strict adherence to the Bible, and only the Bible – and that have no regard for holy tradition – is it not curious that they do not follow the Bible when it comes to worship?

If they did they would ditch their big screens and skinny jeans and imitate the worship disclosed in Revelation Chapter Seven where altar, vestments, clergy, liturgical chant and unspeakable wonder are on full display.

We are all familiar with the 23rd Psalm where it says “my cup runneth over.” But in the Greek version of the Old Testament it is said like this: “Thy cup intoxicates me!” And that is what we see on display in this dear book dear Christians, worship that leaves us intoxicated not with wine, but with wonder!

The same wonder we experience here on a smaller scale at every Eucharist as the “Cup of the New Testament in his blood,” intoxicates us with gladness.

No, they do not need big screens in heaven because their only focus is the throne of God the Father Almighty Maker of heaven and earth; which is shared by the Lamb who is: the Maker of the New heaven and new earth. The New Creation for which we are destined; and whose entrance is a door in the ground we call the grave.

The he lowest possible denominator will NEVER DO for those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb by holy baptism, and by hearty faith in Jesus Christ.

NEVER DO for those who wave the palm branches of salvation before them. But only the highest possible denominator is fitting for the immeasurable love of Christ that imparts fair hope, and unending heavenly life to us: whose sins he remembers no more.

Now please understand that it is not our business to stick our nose into their business. But they are the tallest tree on the Christian landscape; and appear to be the most successful of all churches in terms of the crowds the attract, their sparkling edifices, and financial stability. And so it is tempting for liturgical churches to look to them for leadership in propping up what seems to be our dying churches.

But don’t do that! And don’t be afraid! Even if it appears that we are walking through the valley of ecclesiastical death, we are not!

Our Savior Jesus Christ still prepares THIS EUCHARISTIC BANQUET before us in the presence of our enemies – the gaping jaws of death and beastly desires of the devil to bring us to everlasting death.

And as long as you have access to this Banquet you are the greenest tree on the landscape; and no one will be able to snatch you from the Lamb upon the throne, or from his Almighty Father who dwells in unapproachable Light. End of!

Now today’s readings bring to us an aspect about Christian existence which is often mentioned in passing, but never talked about much. It is what we hear in todays readings:

“They shall never hunger again.”

“I give them eternal life.”

Now we pray these promises as often as we sum up our prayers with the formula: “one God now and forever,” or “world without end.” But what are we actually praying for when we say these words?

The first thing we must admit is that we do not know because human language is inadequate, and human understanding insufficient: it is like trying to contain the ocean in a solo cup, or catch an elephant with a mouse trap.

But though we DON’T understand what we are saying, we say it anyway because these are “the words of eternal life,” and someday we will understand. But for now we must be content to recite the facts, so that when we get there we will prepped to understand.

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Now there are three more things to know about the “eternal life, that Jesus gives us by his resurrection,” and so let us think on them today; and glory in them tomorrow.

First, eternity means QUANTITY. A quantity of days. Eternity goes on and on and on; and on and on. They say that: all good things must come to an end; but not so in eternity; not so in heaven. Because our sins are purged by the Lamb upon the throne we will enjoy endless, continuous, never-ending satisfaction for God will wipe away all tears from our eyes.”

Secondly, eternity means QUALITY. Eternal life will be as different as the life of a child in the womb is, from that same child now born into the wonderous world. The baby never wants to leave the womb, by once she is cognizant of God’s green earth she is happy to have been born.

At this time we are all in the womb so to speak. But soon enough we will be born into New Life: with a silver spoon in our mouth.

We will be born into a world without end. Without end because it is without sin, death or devil; without strife, contention, politics, anxiety, illness, trouble, sinful desires, self-righteousness or self-pity. Then we live crystal lives of a quality indescribable. Indescribable because now we have no more capability to understand it than does a row of birds sitting on a telephone line understand what is happening beneath their feet.

Thirdly, eternity takes in not just quantity and quality of Life, but also SIZE. Heaven is not a foggy imaginary place – but is more tangible than this present existence. And it BIG. Very, very BIG!

To learn this let us consider this question: how big is the universe? No one knows nor ever will know, except when the 90% of our brain that cannot presently be used is suddenly engaged and we will “know even as we are known.” (1 Cor. 13:12)

But the other reason no one will ever know is that even our godless scientists – those fools who say in their heart “there is no God” – even they now confirm that the universe is ever-expanding.

And you have to love it, don’t you? That the longer humanity strives to be “like God apart from God,” that God keeps moving the goal post. And so the Scripture says:

“He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.” (Psalm 2:4).

And again, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men,
and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Cor. 1:25)

And so the “world without end” that we pray for in Blessed Liturgy is comprised of such quantity, quality and size that it will provide unlimited gladness for all who believe and are baptized. We are those people. Amen