1) Sing with all the saints in glory, Sing the resurrection song!
We are part of the communion of saints. We sing our praises together with the rest of the church militant, those still on earth. We also sing together with the church triumphant, those who have come out of the great tribulation of this life into the victory of eternal life. The song we sing together is to the lamb who was slain. To the lamb who lives again.
Death and sorrow, earth's dark story, To the former days belong.
This life that we lead has plenty of disappointments. We understand why those in heaven call this the great tribulation. As we get older, more and more people that we know have terrible illnesses and heartbreaking disappointments. We say goodbye to more and more of our loved ones as they die. This life is a dark story. Yet, to those in heaven, this life is in the past and it clearly tells the story of God’s relentless love for them.
All around the clouds are breaking, Soon the storms of time shall cease;
As for us, we still live in the storm. New responsibilities pile up, expectations are raised, and our faith in God’s help get’s tested in ever more severe ways. We may not always feel the hand of God guiding us through the darkness. We may not be paying attention to what God says to us. But this life is just a short moment. It won’t be long before the storm passes. And when it does we will see clearly why God allowed certain things to happen, and why we spoke to particular people at particular times and in particular places.
In God's likeness, we awaken, Knowing everlasting peace.
When we wake up to the voice of Jesus we will again be in his likeness. Our will, our knowledge, our bodies will be restored and perfect just as God intended.
Hymn 776 v1
2) O what glory, far exceeding All that eye has yet perceived!
When we do wake up we will see a glory like we never have seen, or imagined.
Holiest hearts for ages pleading, Never that full joy conceived.
The greatest imaginations in the history of mankind...the strongest faith of prophets and apostles...the most learned Bible scholar, the most powerful preachers...cannot begin to peek into what awaits us in heaven. Our knowledge of heaven is as extensive as an unborn baby’s knowledge of the outside world. And our passage from this life to the next is a drastic adjustment just as a baby must experience great discomfort in its birth. Yet, the baby cannot stay inside its mother. It must be born to breathe air and see colors, and hear sounds, and eat, and laugh, and crawl, and walk, run, jump, play, love, hurt, grow and learn. The baby has thousands of discoveries awaiting it that it cannot comprehend while still in the womb. We are no different when it comes to our understanding of heaven. Even if we were told, we couldn’t understand it all.
God has promised, Christ prepares it, There on high our welcome waits;
All we need to know is that God has promised it. Christ is preparing it. Our home awaits our arrival.
Ev'ry humble spirit shares it. Christ has passed the eternal gates.
And this is not for any particular group. Everyone is invited. Christ has done the work and anyone who simply trusts in him reaps the benefits.
Hymn 776 v2
3) Life eternal! heav'n rejoices; Jesus lives who once was dead;
Life eternal. Those already there rejoice for the greatest gift. The gift that they received from Jesus, the one who once was dead, but now lives.
Shout with joy, O deathless voices! Child of God, lift up your head!
We also rejoice because we know that death is no longer a threat. We have Easter joy in the midst of the present storms. We are children of God and we can be proud of that. We can hold our heads high. We can boast in the Lord and we can spread the wealth.
Life eternal! O what wonders Crowd on faith; what joy unknown,
Life eternal. To think about it changes everything. Its a wonder. Why us? Why me? Why you? Because God is Love. Life eternal is our hope and joy and the focus for our faith. We can’t even be joyful enough to do it justice. Our biggest problems are solved. The frustrations of our sinful self will be fixed. The terrorist that is the devil has been caught. The dark fear of death has been made safe and comforting by the light of the Lamb of God.
When, amidst earth's closing thunders, Saints shall stand before the throne!
When our time in this great tribulation comes to a close, whether in our own departure or in the judgement of this world, we can look forward to standing together with all the saints united, singing “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God of heavenly hosts, heaven and earth are full of your glory”.
Hymn 776 v3
Heavenly Father, Creator of all things, you give us all that we need for body and life. Lord Jesus Christ, by your suffering and death you have opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Holy Spririt, counselor and guide, you have raised us from death by your powerful Word. Lord fill our hearts with thanksgiving for your mercy and love. Move us with our hearts to believe and with our mouths to confess your saving name. Amen.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus sanctify us and keep us from all evil; may Christ drive all hurtful things far from us and purify both our souls and bodies; may Christ bind us to himself by the bond of love; and may his peace abound in our hearts. Amen