Anglican Morning Devotion, 13 December 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know” (John 14:2-4; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
There comes a day when this world will be consumed with intense fire and all the elements thereof scattered and destroyed. At that day, there will be no place for man or beast to set his foot. Just as with the Flood of Noah’s day, at the moment of onset, it will be too late to enter the Ark of Christ. The Space/Time continuum will be canceled and no matter will remain – even in atomic particles. The world will then be no haven for any. As the Psalmist proclaims:
“Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. 4There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 5God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. 6The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. 7The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” (Psalms 46:2-7)
The biblical description of that final destruction is akin to a global atomic chain reaction. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:10-13)
There is a Door that remains open until that terrible day. It is open to the Way to God that Jesus offers through His redemptive atonement. He traveled that same Road to show us the Way and, in fact, to BE the Way.
In our devotion on the Via Dolorosa, we discussed the road of sorrow Christ trod to Calvary. But, as we see in scripture, the road did not end at Calvary. The way of the cross leads beyond the cross to an open tomb. Even that open tomb does not define the end of the road for those who believe. There was a cloud that awaited the Lord at the fateful moment of His ascension. The Road that carried our Lord to His point of departure wound toward Bethany and the Mt. of Olives. “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.” (Luke 24:50-51) This was the Lord’s last Road on His earthly ministry. It was a bittersweet sight for the disciples to observe the Lord’s departure from among them, but the Promise of His Coming again was too glorious to suppress their joy at the thought.
The Lord has a special use for clouds. Remember the Cloud by Day and Fire by Night that led and followed the Children of Israel out of bondage? Do you remember the great cloud that surrounded the heights of Mt. Sinai as Moses received the Ten Commandments, or the Cloud that fell upon Jesus and His disciples atop the Mount of Transfiguration? Well, there was another cloud prepared by God to receive His only Begotten Son on that last day of His ascension. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:8-9) Clouds suggests mysteries that only the wise and diligent can grasp. But the mystery is settled in Christ for those of faith. When I think of that cloud that received our Lord, I an encouraged to believe that He shall return precisely as He has promised and in the same manner in which He ascended: “And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11)
Never underestimate the beauty of the Cloud!