Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"born to raise the sons of earth"

"for the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. after that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. and so we will be with the Lord forever. therefore encourage one another with these words."
(1 thessalonians 4.16-18 tniv)

when i was looking for some scripture passages to use for this reflection, i skimmed through the Bible passages that talk about a trumpet. what i noticed is that a lot of passages seem to refer to a trumpet sounding in times of war. in the life of israel, the sound of a trumpet could mean that an enemy was at hand and life was about to change for the worse.

i don't think we have the same kind of threatening sound today, at least not in the united states. our emergency broadcast system is so often accompanied by the message "this is only a test" that it is not as ominous as the trumpet must have been for israel.

in 1 thessalonians, paul says the sounding of the trumpet will have a different meaning in our future. when we hear the sound of a trumpet in the future, we will finally be able to be with Christ forever. all our cares, all the sins and griefs that weigh so heavily on us will fall away. we will be weightless with joy and gladness and freedom.

the glimpses of this joy that we have when we are gathered with loved ones, when we sing carols with a church congregation, when our kids say something that cracks us up, when our favorite sports team wins the championship . . . this joy will pale in comparison to the joy that we will experience when we are joined with Christ.

i am so thankful for the christmas season when in spite of all the hustle and bustle, i have moments that give me a taste for the joy we will have celebrating with all the world the soveriegnty of Jesus and the freedom from sin.

"praise the LORD.
praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
praise the LORD."
(psalm 150 tniv)

for the kids: talk about some of their favorite christmas traditions and experiences. if you travel to be with family, talk about the joy that comes from reuniting with family. what kind of feelings will they have when we are united with Christ? are they looking forward to that day? for a project, make a trumpet out of foam or felt (there is another idea here). remember the trumpet sounds victory that is ours through Jesus Christ.

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