My Dear Sisters and Brothers! The brief conversation between the little girl and me has given me some solid food for prayer and reflection about how I live our Christian hope.
I’ve been uplifted because our Christian hope is about Jesus Christ returning to us. As Jesus said to his disciples in the last words before they gathered for the Last Supper: ‘They will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.’ If we love Jesus his power and great glory are not a threat to us. They put a smile on our faces because our faith gives us hope that the holiness which we want to practice despite our many failings will be finally accomplished in us. Through his power and great glory the Lord will complete what we couldn’t do ourselves.
I remember visiting a family. Their little daughter was drawing something but there was one circle that didn’t want to look like a circle. She was getting frustrated by her failed attempts. Finally her dad saw her attempts and drew a circle himself. The girl was over the moon. Her drawing was now perfect.
My Dear fellow hopers! If you strive for holiness and find that despite your attempts there are still some areas where you fail to be holy say this ancient Christian prayer: ‘Marana tha’ ‘Come, O Lord.’ The Lord Jesus answered this calling which was repeated by generations of People of God in the Old Testament. He, the Only Begotten Son of God, came as the Firstborn Son of Mary of Nazareth. He was ‘the virtuous Branch’ grew for the people who once had David for their king. For centuries those people longed for the coming of the Messiah because they knew how often they failed to live up to be God’s people. For centuries those people longed for the coming of the Messiah because they hoped that he would help them to be God’s people. The generations of Jewish women and men were longing for the Messiah but their longing was answered in a more marvellous way than they expected. The Messiah they longed for came not only for them but also for those who had no Jewish connections, like us. Their hope was built on God’s promise to send a Messiah. Our hope is built on the promised already fulfilled. The Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, came to live with us so that we could live with God. The Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, came to live for us so that we could live for God. Therefore, in the freedom which God has always allowed us, we say: ‘Marana tha, Come, O Lord.’
How important this prayer is now you can find out by following discussions about the Laws on religious freedom. There are so many people who fear religious influence on the society. I feel that they are fearful because they don’t know Jesus and his power and his great glory. I don’t know if or when the Laws protecting religious freedom will be passed but I do believe that if we, as God’s people, show to those who don’t know God that we live in constant longing for the Lord’s coming, when we look more like that little girl eagerly waiting for her mum, those who don’t know Jesus will see that they don’t need to fear him. I pray that the ancient prayer ‘Marana tha’ inspire us to live every day longing for the Lord’s return.