This past Sunday during my sermon on Matthew 8:1–17, the main point I sought to bring out was: Since Jesus came not only to redeem a people but to renew creation, he demonstrates his Messianic authority by healing the sick and liberating the oppressed. Simply put, he gives us a foretaste of the kingdom in the age to come.
Whether in the prophets, the gospels, or Revelation, God in his kindness pulls back the curtain and gives us a glimpse of what awaits us.
But not only do we find this in the inspired writers of Scripture, we also find the church’s poets, philosophers, and theologians doing this. One such philosopher/theologian was Peter Abelard (1079–1142). His poem “O What Their Joy and Their Glory Must Be,” captures the unbridled joy of the church triumphant. See if it doesn’t prompt you to praise or move you to meditate on the glory that awaits us:
O what their joy and their glory must be,
Those endless Sabbaths the blesséd ones see;
Crown for the valiant, to weary ones rest:
God shall be all, and in all ever blest.
What are the Monarch, his court and his throne?
What are the peace and the joy that they own?
O that the blesséd ones, who in it have share,
All that they feel could as fully declare!
Truly, “Jerusalem” name we that shore,
City of peace that brings joy evermore;
Wish and fulfillment are not severed there,
Nor do things prayed for come short of the prayer.
There, where no troubles distraction can bring,
We the sweet anthems of Zion shall sing;
While for thy grace, Lord, their voices of praise
Thy blesséd people eternally raise.
Now, in the meantime, with hearts raised on high,
We for that country must yearn and must sigh,
Seeking Jerusalem, dear native land,
Through our long exile on Babylon’s strand.
Low before him with our praises we fall,
Of whom and in whom and through whom are all;
Of whom, the Father; and in whom the Son;
And through whom, the Spirit, with them ever one.