The Rio Olympics finished with a bang at the closing ceremonies Sunday night. Thousands gathered in Maracana Stadium as delegations from the 206 countries represented in the games processed through the space with their respective flags. Singers, dancers, and musicians joined in the celebration and added to its color and flare. And to finish the exuberance and mark the ending of 17 days of athletic achievement and global unity, the Olympic flame was extinguished. It was a ceremony befitting this quadrennial event.
Sunday night we also beheld a multitudinous gathering described in the letter to the Hebrews:
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:22-24).
And we discovered that as we follow Jesus through the narrow door, as we say “yes” to him and follow him, we become a part of this crazy party happening in heaven, this other-worldly ceremony most befitting the magnitude of the event it celebrates - the victory of Jesus.
Our Sunday worship joins this heavenly worship that goes on now and for eternity by the power of the Holy Spirit and the mediation of Jesus Christ. Because the Church is Christ’s body, we have a share in that crazy party, that victory feast of the Lamb of God. We get to participate in it. Moreover, we commune with God’s people in this victory.
It is so easy to loose sight of the heavenly vision that God has given us. It is so easy to think that more pressing and urgent problems right before us are vastly more important. Yet, planting a worshiping community that joins this heavenly community is a key part of our parish’s vision - “to plant a three-stream Anglican parish living in God’s presence and living out his love in East Dallas and beyond.”
God has called us into this glorious vision, and I’m so excited to see it play out in Sunday worship, in Pastorates, as they resume in a few weeks, in Little Saints, in Alpha.
Until next week’s crazy party -