Revelation 3:5 – The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. (ESV)
We have various inscriptions around inside our church and out the front on the lawn. They are there as a celebration and remembrance of various people who have given their lives in service, whether in membership, war, or leadership over the many preceding years.
I like to worship up at the front — where I like to think the action is — to be near the band and to be able to read the words on the screens. Today, as I contemplated God in worship, my eyes rested upon a small brass plaque celebrating the life of someone who, many years prior, had been in the choir for sixty-three years at our church. It was inscribed many years ago by those remaining here on earth who valued his fellowship.
Whilst I focused on the plaque, a thought bubbled up to gain my attention: These names of the Christian great and the good are also inscribed in heaven, not only here on earth, where they are passed over virtually unnoticed by the world of today. Those who originally celebrated them have themselves, by now, passed on.
I am sure that in heaven, they are not concerned about their social status, reputation, or memory any more, for they have eternity to know that they are with God. He has their names written in the book of life and on His heart — the cost of doing that is there for us to see on Jesus' side, hands, and feet.
If we are in the kingdom, then no matter who or where we are in the world, God remembers us and abides with us, because we are a part of His family. One day in heaven, His faithful people will be given "a white stone, with a new name written" (Revelation 2:17 ESV) and "his name will be on their foreheads" (Revelation 22:4 ESV).
So, during Lent, we, like them, humble ourselves and remember what God has done for us in His crucifixion. Meanwhile, we wait, as those who follow on behind those who have gone before. He is with us, and we are with Him day by day. The world changes but God stays the same, and His loving-kindness is with us as we wade through the quagmire of today. He is continually encouraging us to keep on keeping on changing the world in the power of Jesus, being a city on a hill, salt and light to our world. In heaven, we will inherit our new names on white stones, which will not need polishing or cleaning like brass plaques!
Prayer: Lord, we rejoice in Christ our Saviour, who enables us to be a part of what happens next here on earth and also in heaven. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Come Christians Join To Sing" (Lyrics)