“Momentary Sorrow, Everlasting Joy” was the theme of the sermon last Sunday of Thomas Schoech, interim pastor at Resurrection. I don’t intend to reprise his sermon, but to look at the lessons from last Sunday through the sorrow-joy lens.
In the Gospel lesson, John 16:12-22, Jesus is speaking to his disciples prior to his death and resurrection. They won’t understand what is happening, but the Holy Spirit will guide them. They won’t see him for a little while but he will be back. They will weep and lament, while the world will rejoice over Jesus’ death. But their sorrow won’t last forever, though it often seems to us that sorrow really will never end. Jesus promises us that “your sorrow will turn into joy.”
We rejoice in Jesus’ resurrection, though there is reason enough in our world and our lives to sorrow. Lamenting and sorrow stand side by side in our life and world. However, Jesus promises that the time will come when joy will stand alone in our hearts. “And no one will take your joy from you.”
The long term outcome is indicated in the epistle lesson from Revelation 21:1-7, when God will, “wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things has passed away.” We live now by faith in the all-encompassing presence of Christ who is “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.”
Thus we pray this week, “that among the many changes of this world our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.”