It was Church today. I needed something eternal.
Even though it was different; even though everyone was separated; even though the only connection was through the internet – it was Church. And there was something eternal.
I needed that after a week of looking around and seeing everything changing constantly, and so quickly that it is hard to keep up, and every time you turn around there is another thing coming along. And after a week of looking at all the things that pass along and are gone all too quickly, I needed something eternal.
That is a part of our created nature. We need the eternal. Without the eternal we feel unanchored, drifting, loose and disconnected – and then we thrash around trying to find something to hold on to, something solid.
But there was something eternal today. Isn’t that an interesting phrase, “there was something eternal today”? But there was. There was an unchanging word from God, and it has been the same for thousands of years. It told me about an unchanging grace and blessing; an unchanging forgiveness; an unchanging invitation to prayer; and most importantly an unchanging God with mercy for all my needs.
And then the eternal came into my day; into my moments, my hearing, my feelings, and my life. Isn’t that an amazing thing to say "the eternal came to me"? There were words of promise, “Your brother [Lazarus] will rise again.” There was the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept” and the eternal Son of God shared a very lowly, humble thing with me. And then there was a command, “Lazarus, come out!” and the Eternal Christ changed things. He undid the undoing, and brought a bit of eternity into our mortality.
I needed the eternal today because I am not. By myself I am temporary. I will change and (sooner than I want) I will be gone. I needed the eternal to call to me and take something eternal and put it in my soul. A few years back, during the sermon, I asked a question. "If you have the eternal word of God in your soul, what does that make you?" And it was Wade who answered right away, "Eternal." And I thought to myself, "Yes!"
But that is what it is to be a Christian, to have the Eternal Son of God taking His eternal Word and speaking it into me; and calling the eternal name of “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” over me to claim me to share eternity; and when we can come together again to have the eternally risen body and blood of Jesus bring His eternity into our bodies.
And that is what it is to be Church. The name in the New Testament actually means “those called out.” We are called out of everything that is temporary and passing. And we are called together into everything that is eternal.
And then, time for church was over. The hour was finished. The day moved on. But the eternal had been in my life and in my soul. The Eternal Savior had kept His promise, “where 2 or 3 are gathered in My name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20) Jesus knows His own and He brings us together in amazing and uncommon ways. And through years and generations He is gathering His people into His great gathering at the end.
Lord Jesus, help me to walk through all those things around that are only temporary; and to keep my eyes on what is eternal. You are risen and eternally living. Be the anchor for my soul. By Your words and promises lead me to hear, believe and treasure the things of the soul, the things that are truly spiritual, and the things of God. Amen.
Rev. Mark Willig
Pastor Willig is pastor emeritus of Friends in Christ Lutheran Church.