Morning Devotion for Sunday, 25 April 2021 Anno Domini,
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In 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. 3In 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.”
(John 14:1-3* – from Lectionary for 3rd Sunday after Easter)
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” We are often troubled more by doubts and fears of the future than by actual misfortunes. During the long and lonely nights, we may find sleep an elusive stranger. But it is during those night watches that the Lord is most keen to speak – not because He needs the solitude to speak, but rather because we need the solitude to hear. “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.” (Psalms 63:5-6) Where may God be found during those seemingly interminable night watches? Well, He is as close as the believer’s heart for that heart is His Temple. “I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.” (Psalms 77:6)
“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.” For whom does the Lord go to preparer a place? It is for His Bride, the Church, of which all believers are members. In the days of the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, it was customary for the father to search out a worthy young lady for his son to marry – often by means of a match-maker. When such a one was found, the father arranged for a meeting at the young lady’s home with her and her parents. A single cup of wine was placed on the table between the two families. After a time of conversation, if the young man approved of the young lady to be his future bride, he would drink of the cup. If the young lady likewise agreed to the betrothal, she, too, would then drink from the same cup. This was a serious seal of betrothal.
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.” The father of the future bridegroom would then depart with his son in order that the boy could begin to prepare a place in the father’s house for his future bride, but this was done under the supervision of the father. It was the father’s responsibility to provide quarters spacious enough for his son’s family, but it was the son’s responsibility to make the quarters suitable. After many weeks, months, or even a year or two, when the father believed the accommodations suitable, he would release the son to proceed to the girl’s house and bring her to the marriage supper. His friends would go before him heralding the coming marriage supper. The girl must be ready at all times to be taken by her betrothed.
One of the bridegroom’s company would go before and sound a trumpet near the girl’s home to alert her of the coming bridegroom. Her maids-in-waiting were required as well to be ready at the midnight hour to accompany the party.
“I go to prepare a place for you.” Can you draw the connection between the social customs of the day and the words of our Lord concerning His going to prepare a place for us (under the father’s supervision)? Can you see that the Cup of which He drank is the same from which we drink in the Holy Communion Service? In so doing, we are making a corporate and public testimony that we are accepted in Him, and He in us. He is coming at a moment in which we may least suspect it. His Angel will sound the trumpet at the moment of His coming for His Bride, the Church. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:52)
The sleep of death is so momentary that we shall feel as if we simply blinked our eyes and were awakened beyond the Gates of Splendor. Isn’t God’s Word amazing!
*All scripture quoted is from the King James Version