Welcome to this blog post for the last Sunday of August at Digby Baptist Church. The format of our service is quite different today. Enjoy ‘the show;’ enjoy God! The script below gives the plan for what was to happen. In fact, our guest Heather was away – she had fallen and broken her wrist earlier in the morning! The video clips show the actual conversations we had together.
Opening Theme Cairine R
Welcome to ‘The End of the World Show!’ – Dick P
Audience Music Holy Holy Holy # 2
Our service today is in the form of a late night talk show, except that this is late in history, an end times talk show. And all our talk is about God, who is coming back, once again in Jesus form. So may this still be a way for us to value God, venerate Jesus, & verify our hope in salvn.
We have a number of guests coming on stage this morning, here at Digby Baptist Church, all familiar faces to you who are regulars here. (Welcome to you, today, who are new to us!) We have some local singers who have been working together musically for years now. We have a busy mother of two who is also an educator. We have one of the most thoughtful eighty-year-olds I know, who does not know how to retire. And we have a recent retiree who has worked in the military, in bussing, and in bylaw enforcement, to mention a few careers.
As usual, of course, at the Casavant console we have our very own Cairine Robertson, carrying our music along as she controls the keyboards.
But first, let us acknowledge again our great Guest, the living Spirit of God. Let’s Pray.
Wonderful Holy One, amazing as it is, You welcome us here today! Glory and praise to You! May we be drawn to You as we talk together, share music, pray, and hang out here. Forgive our distracted ways, and the greed we have that wants to serve ourselves. Let this time be us serving You, worshipping You, seeking & finding You. As we look once more at the finale of life as we know it, reveal the truth, give us an ‘apocalypse.’ In the name of Jesus, the returning One. Amen.
Musical Guests Heather P & Margo N “Holy Is The Lord”
Thank you for your musical offering, Margo and Heather. Great to have you as part of ‘the show’ today, remembering the audience of One: this is all for God! Now, before we talk for a moment, let me set the scene with ‘Fire and Ice’ by famed poet, Robert Frost.
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Today is the finale of our five week series about Last Things, our August Apocalypse. I have talked with you a bit, Heather, about ‘last things.’ I know you have some thoughts about last week here. I pointed out the challenge of understanding how the final judgment fits in with us, if we have already relied upon Christ Jesus for salvation by grace through faith. Are we really to be judged for all the things we did or did not do? Aren’t we already forgiven, now?
Later in the show we are going to hear from Revelation 21, which gives us a vision of the new heavens and a new earth. Most scriptural teaching points to earth as our eternal dwelling place. It speaks of the renewal of the earth and the heavens. It is not so much the destruction of the earth – as is so common in our cultural imagination – but a recreation. Remember Paul wrote this, in what we call Romans chapter 8:
22…the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
There will be a resurrection, and new life, forever. We put this together with various things Jesus said. I know you have some thoughts about this, Heather, as we wonder about Jesus’ promise of many mansions or dwelling places for His disciples, that He makes ready for them….
That’s great. I remember when you shared that in the Monday Study Group. Now, before we move on, do you have anything apocalyptic you’d like to ask of me?
Thanks again, Heather. May Jesus be near you in Spirit. I hope we’ll have you back again soon!
Audience Music All Hail, King Jesus
Children’s Moment J G White
Guest Alison V – Rev. 21:1-14
Welcome, Alison, to this talk show for the End of the World! You have just shared with us a pivotal scripture about ‘last things.’ Thanks for that. This finale of the Revelation vision is certainly happy and beautiful, after many chapters of struggle and harsh images.
I confess that, through the years, I have been all over the map when it comes to what I think about the afterlife. As a Christian, I see these two New Testament teachings: We die and go to be with God. ‘Today, you will be with me in paradise,’ said Jesus to a thief on a neighbouring cross. And second, we die, and await the resurrection day, when we get our new, spiritual bodies. Paul, for one, talks at length about this in 1 Corinthians 15.
See what I mean, Alison?
Wise sages, through the centuries, have put these together in a few different ways. I guess I think the most important thing is the final destination, the final form. This gets symbolized at the end of Revelation as the New Heavens and New Earth, the New Holy City that ‘comes down,’ the River of Life, and so on. I think that what this actually will mean, in reality, is a mystery.
Tell us, what things about ‘The End’ give you hope or attract your attention?
Great, Alison, that’s cool. So much of our hope is about relationships – who we will be with in eternity, and what shape we’ll be in, without suffering or grief or pain. Now, just one last thing I wonder. Is there something else you’d like answered about ‘last things?’
Well, we thank you so much for joining us today. Please hang around as we bring other guests on, Al.
Audience Music There’s Something About That Name #104
Guest Maggie B – Mark 13:21-37
Thanks for the reading, Maggie. Great to have you and Mike here today. This is certainly an apocalyptic bit from Jesus. This chapter gets called Mark’s little apocalypse, and the material has its parallels in Matthew and Luke. I know, as we’ve talked about this, you pick up on a number of interesting things. The whole question of when or how soon is still confusing for some people. Here, Jesus speaks of ‘this generation’ not passing away before things happen. What has helped you come to terms with this?
Very interesting. I guess I myself have thought there must be some sense in which ‘this generation’ that does not pass away is a long-term group. Or else, Jesus was speaking of some things being fulfilled in the near future, like the fall of Jerusalem that happened in AD 70.
I have had this sense, for years, that some Biblical prophecy gets fulfilled more than once. There is a prediction. It happens a few years later, sort of. Then, more years later, something else happens that fulfills it. And maybe, at ‘the end of the age,’ the biggest, most complete fulfillment will happen.
I think, for instance, of the words of Joel 2 in the OT. I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophecy… The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood… All that. In about AD 30 Jesus quotes the first verse, and seems to be talking about ‘the last things.’ Then, just a year or two later, Peter preaches a sermon on the next verses, saying this explains what was happening that day in Jerusalem, the day of Pentecost. Joel 2 prophecy happened back in AD 30 and also still in our future.
Maggie, you come to us with a wide experience of Christianity: Baptist, Brethren, even fellowship with Roman Catholics in Bible Study. You’ve lived across Canada, and overseas. I’m interested in what you have seen and learned in other fellowships. I wonder, does anything else jump out at you from Mark 13, and demand your attention?
Thanks for that. Now, is there anything you want to ask of me, ever so briefly?
We’re grateful you came on stage, Mags. Bless you!
Just before we bring up our final guest, let me celebrate the ministries that are upcoming:
Next Sunday… What should our scripture be? Theme?
You get to help choose. If you think of some scripture you think we should explore, or a theme, write it down…
Other ministry to celebrate… (as in Bulletin)
Prayer Guest – Dick P
Welcome, Dick. Before you lead us in prayer, I wanted to chat with you for a minute too. Today, we finally look into the final destination: the new heavens and earth, the Holy City: New Jerusalem, all this in the last two chapters of the Bible. Streets of gold, twelve gates of pearl, the Son of God as the Lamb, and the Light that brightened the whole place: it’s all here. What visions of the afterlife have inspired and been most important to you?
Now, all the Bible and Church teaching about ‘last things’ is so diverse and complicated. I don’t want people to be led astray, to be confused, or to be overly fearful of all this stuff. I mean, here is a story told by one Bible scholar.
There was this well-known radio Bible teacher in the US, Harold Camping, who various times has predicted the date of Jesus’ second coming… (1994 and 2011 for instance) …and the end of the world as we know it. …there was a family physician in the 1990s who was such a devout follower of Harold Camping, and was therefore so convinced that Jesus would return in 1994, that he talked ceaselessly about it with his patients, spent his free time getting ready for the end, and eventually let his entire staff go, since they clearly would have no work to do after September 1994. (Michael Gorman, Reading Revelation Responsibly, 2011, xii)
Dick, what do you think might be some ways for us believers to be alert and watching and prepared for Jesus.
Thanks, Dick. Now, are you ready to lead us in prayer?
Now, as we offer up our closing song together, let me gather up the suggestions for next Sunday’s sermon…
Audience Music Who Is On the Lord’s Side? #666
Now, the show is over – our service is just beginning for the week. Before we end, let’s draw and see what our scripture text or topic may be for next Sunday…
Now: May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (1 Thess 5:23, 28)
Closing Theme Cairine Robertson