SUMMER CONNECTIONS: Celebrate!

I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered – to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing.”

And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: “Blessings and honour and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.” Revelation 5:11-13

A few weeks ago, my husband, Fred, and I, had the distinct privilege of visiting Ottawa.  Our son, Wyatt, has a summer job at the University of Ottawa and it seemed like a good time to pay him a visit and also to fulfill one of Fred’s life dreams–to be in Ottawa on Canada Day.  I was unprepared for the hoopla.  Streets near the Parliament buildings were closed off, downtown parks and roads became festivals with food trucks, musicians, dancers, magicians and people selling all manner of goods.  It felt like all of Stampede condensed into a single day. It was overwhelming but very, very exciting.

One of the places we visited on Canada Day was the National Gallery.  Again, I was overwhelmed.  It’s a beautiful building, filled with beautiful works of art, and on Canada Day, it was also filled with people.  After viewing art until I thought my head might explode, I stood in the lobby of the Gallery waiting for the others.  Around me were people of all ages and ethnicities, and outside the doors was the same–a throng of people celebrating Canada.  I was surprised to find my eyes filling with tears, recognizing that this diverse group, united to celebrate a single cause, was perhaps a tiny, tiny foretaste of what heaven will be like.

As I get older, and as more and more people I love go to heaven, I have found myself wondering what it will be like.  The Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about heaven, but what it does record leads me to believe it will be more beautiful and amazing than anything we can possibly imagine.  We will be in the midst of all of the believers from all time and we will be celebrating the King of Kings and worshiping him forever.  Race, age, ethnicity, gender–all will be irrelevant as we unite to celebrate and worship.  Standing in the lobby, I looked at people, recognized that each one is beloved by God, and found myself saying many little prayers, asking God to reveal Himself to those who don’t know him so that we could be united one day celebrating a cause much bigger and greater than the country of Canada.

Canada Day evening we stood in the midst of the huge crowd on Parliament Hill for the concert and fireworks.  Just being there was exciting.  Honestly, I could take or leave the musicians, but was again impressed with being surrounded by so many different people, all loving Canada and celebrating the gift of being Canadian.  During the last band’s final number it began to rain.  The weather was stifling and muggy and the gentle drops falling were a welcome relief from the heat.  As soon as the band finished, “O Canada” began to play, and then the fireworks started.  I stood, with my face lifted to the sky, tears and raindrops mingling on my face, singing the national anthem.  The rain felt to me like a blessing coming directly from heaven.  I recognized again how much I love my country and how proud I am to be Canadian, and how grateful I was to be able to share that experience with people I love.  And I thought again of heaven, and realized that standing in a throng, celebrating with loved ones, is going to be in my future again.  Only one day I will be celebrating the greatest leader ever.  I don’t know when that day will come for me, and while I don’t hasten it, I do anticipate it.  I now have a tiny idea of what it might be like, and I can’t wait!

Prayer:  Kind Father, thank you.  Thank you for the country we live in, for we are truly blessed to live in Canada.  Thank you that we are joint citizens–citizens of Canada and future citizens of heaven.  We know you have prepared a wonderful place for us, and because of the sacrifice of your son, Jesus, we will be there when you decide it’s time.  Thank you that we can anticipate the splendour of worshipping you with untold numbers of other believers at a party that is without rival.  You are a great and glorious God and we love you.  Amen.

Contributed by Karen Vine

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