Up Yonder

Read: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

This past week it was pretty incredible to see Austrian sky jumper Felix Baumgartner amaze the world when he went supersonic during a record-smashing 24-mile skydive above the New Mexico desert. But I have a feeling it will be even more amazing to go the other way.

In verse 17 of this passage it says, “We who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” What a glorious day that will be for those who are ready!

When I was growing up in church one of my favorite hymns was “When the Roll is Called up Yonder.” It doesn’t get sung as much these days but it still holds a wonderful reminder for us of this promise in 1 Thessalonians 4.

The first verse of the hymn goes like this…..
“When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more, and the morning breaks eternal, bright and fair, when the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore, and the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.”

In this passage this week Paul is reminding us about the coming of the Lord. He reminds us that there is hope beyond the grave for those who believe in Jesus and have received him as the Lord of their life. As the song says, “the saved of earth shall gather.”

What a reassuring promise that someday either our life on this earth will turn into our life in eternity with Jesus or he may just return to take us before that. The truth is we don’t know when our last day on earth will be and we don’t know when Jesus will come again.

But the promise of eternal life in heaven is what gives believers hope for the here and now. In verse 18 Paul says, “encourage each other with these words.” We are to remind each other of this wonderful hope when things are tough and the world seems to be caving in around us.

Let’s do that for each other, and let’s be sure that we are ready when that roll is called up yonder. I hope we all can make the proclamation that this hymn makes. “When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there!”

Make it personal: If someone were to ask you what your favorite hymn is what would you say? Think about that and then think about how that hymn or those hymns or songs give testimony to your hope and the promises of Jesus.

Have a wonderful week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church