We Shall See Him

1 John 3:2

November 1st & 2nd, 2008


            One of the most heart wrenching sights is to see a young man, and now young woman go off to war, and say that final good bye to their family.   Approximately 1.5 million Americans have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, along with countless other family members who stayed home.   It has been said that during World War II 35 million family members, or 1/3 of all Americans had a close family members serving in that overseas conflict.  Imagine how many times that airport, ship leaving scene was carried out.  Young men with their girlfriends, and some their brides, mothers father’s, brothers and sisters all getting in that one last long hug, because they just don’t know what could happen next.    Then there is that complete opposite, pure joyful picture of the soldier returning to America, sometimes lifting his daughter he simply has not seen before.  As equally wrenching as that good bye was months, even years earlier, and even greater emotion of joy is displayed when finally the soldier, the family member, the spouse, and even the child is home.    There is something about seeing that person, touching that person, getting a hug from that person that simply cannot be matched by e-mail or letters.  Today’s text for this all saints speaks in awed tones about heaven, but what most amazes the author of John is that like a loved one who writes, and calls, and even sends money over and over again, there is still nothing that beats seeing him.   “Beloved we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shal be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 1:3)     1 Corinthians 13 states “Now we but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully…  You can say a lot of things about heaven, but if we don’t mention the grand reunion, we merely speak of sentimentality about the  afterlife which ultimately short changes the grand reunion   We are united face to face with the one who not only gives us love, but the one who is love. 

            Today on this All Saints Day,  we live with Jesus certainly among us in Word, and through the Holy Spirit, yet we know that were not to our homecoming quite yet.  However, there are those that are, those who have met Jesus face to face, and like that family member that is reunited with that long last relative, there is joy utter joy.

            Our text starts out by saying “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.”  Let’s spend some time on this, before we get again to that grand reunion.  John is amazed, and awed, that he could be called a child of God.  It is that same wonder John the Baptist had when Jesus comes to him for baptism.  In which he said  “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the Word.”  Or the awe of the disciples after Jesus calmed the storm.  “What manner of man is this that even the wind and sea obey him”.   He is not talking about us being children of God simply because he has created us,  but rather children because we are believers in him.  “yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor a human decision or a husbands will, but born of God” (John 1: 12-13) .    To a certain extent though, we have difficulty being thought of as children.   We are told to be independent  leaders, authorities in our own worlds.   Being a child  implies relying on someone else.  In a very real sense, we cannot escape being children.  If I were to go back to where I grew up, I would not be Stephen Krenz, but to many I would always be Neil and Dianne’s boy.  Like it or not, I am who am because of them. (I must say here that is not a bad thing)   Jesus asks us to be like children, not childish, but to have child like trust.  In Matthew 18 Jesus says that those who humble themselves as a child are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus found in children a trust, a dependence, a belief in who he was and what he is doing.  Yet, to be a child of God, means all the privileges of being connected to this God.  For example a child of God has an   inheritance,   a “Place with many rooms”, a vacation home of sorts.   God’s children get to dine with him at the table, and he pays for the drinks.  He cleans and washes the clothes for his children, and unlike our parents, he truly does have, and always will have the best in mind for us.  

All of these gifts, still come through mail of sorts.  They come through words, through letters (the bible), they come to us through the Holy Spirit.   Yet there is more to come, for what we will be, has not been completed as of yet.  But it’s coming, its coming.  

            Oh he is coming, and oh will the homecoming be great.  For there our risen Savior has promised never will we hunger.  The Lamb, Jesus Christ, will be our visible, and very real shepherd, eh will guide us to springs of living water, and he will wipe, all by himself, he will wipe every tear from our eyes.   He is the one who says blessed are you poor, for yours in the kingdom of heaven.   Blessed are you who mourn for you will be comforted.  

            This past year, we have had 11 blood bought souls, who were made pure by the blood of the lamb.   They have had a homecoming of sorts, for they have met the one who loved them and gave themselves for him.  For many here today, your heart breaks, because you miss your loved one so much.  You’re like that war bride at home on the war front, only all you have is memories, and no new updates.   Yet, your homecoming is being planned, and while we don’t know the exact day, it will be something else.  For then you will see him as he is.  Amen.