A Joyful Homeland
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
THE WORLD IS FILLED with ephemeral homelands, with passed evanescent ages, with kings who have ruled and died. Man’s history has become motion pictures, shining for a moment, then moving fast, ceding place and time to another. Man thinks he lives in his own homeland offering it all love and respect, then dies bequeathing to another his place. But at the back of these eras and times, places and countries God gave man the gift of faith on his return in the end to his everlasting realm for time eternal.
God sent His only Son to open up eternal times giving man the secret of the everlasting heavenly homeland. He expressed it with the key to Heaven which He handed over into the hands of His beloved disciple Peter, and the rest of the disciples, so that they would in their turn hand it over to whoever believed in Christ. In the book of the Apostles’ Acts we find the Apostle Peter giving those who believed the power to open up and to close through baptism in accordance to their confession of sins, and the washing away of sins: “And Peter said to them: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”1 The Apostle Paul, while still Saul, was given that key when Ananias said: “The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth; …. And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”2
Thus the way to the Kingdom of Heaven was opened to us for it to become our final homeland. As we receive our temporary terrestrial homeland from our corporal parents, each according to his inherited characteristics be it stature, skin color, and behavior during life, so that every terrestrial homeland has become full of forms, colors, habits and types of behavior. Yet there remains for us another homeland, a heavenly one, which we received from Christ Himself, for all to become one in Christ, not male and female, not master and servant, not white and black, not evil and righteous, but for us all to be in the stature of Christ, with single Divine characteristics, all of us members in the unlimited body of Christ, and all of us with the one faith at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ in glory.3
Even though our earthly homelands are sealed and separated one from another, with fighting and quarreling, headed by kings and presidents, rich and poor, killers and thieves; yet the Heavenly Kingdom is limitless, filling up all existence, all one in the stature of Christ. Because we will all be members in His Divine heavenly body that is uncounted, all men and women saints, with no difference between male and female as all are one in Christ enjoying His love and His power. It is one happy homeland with no more sadness, grief or sighs, but instead continuous joy in the light of His saints, where Christ will wipe away every tear from righteous eyes4. They will be eternally joyful with Him in the shadow of Christ’s glory: “Father, I desire that they (the Lord’s disciples) also whom You gave Me may be with Me …. that they may behold my glory .... and I in them.”5
The secret of eternal joy in our new happy homeland is the love of God and Christ: “that the love with which You loved Me may be in them.”6 As grief and pain in the temporary earthly homeland are the work of our own hands and the result of servitude to sin that have invaded our hearts and minds, eternal joy in our heavenly homeland emanates from God’s heart and overflows on to all. Thus the saints continue to glorify and praise always, because there is no day nor night there7, but praises and hymns lasting eternally. God’s grace will prevail over every heart, so that our eternal homeland will itself be permanent bliss overflowing out of every heart. Due to the intensity of the cries of the saints, afire with Divine love, they become cries of glorification and praise to God and thus the saints’ hymns complete the chants of the angels and the whole of creation is filled with permanent glorification to God.
When will this age come to an end so that we may enter our eternal peace and rest from this world’s strong drawing power? Our only comfort is that God’s promise is truthful and Christ is the truth. Our hope in the Lord is therefore strong and sure. He is our only hope which we are awaiting impatiently. The Holy Bible sustains us with the words that faith in Christ is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”8Amen. Come, O Lord Jesus, and let the world come to an end!
1 Acts 2:38
2 Acts 22:14, 16
3 Eph 4:13
4 Rev 21:4
5 John 17:24, 26
6 John 17:26
7 Rev 22:5
8 Heb 11:1
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