Lausanne Lesson Number Eight: (and my closing thought) A Taste of Things to Come

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. Revelation 14.6

I had every intention of writing this final post from Cape Town, South Africa after tonight’s closing Communion worship service. To be led by the esteemed and courageous Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi (befitting for a congress that has been motivated, it seems, by remarkable stories of uncommon bravery and heroic witness by the Spirit-energized Anglican movement in Africa [other groups not excluded, but this was overwhelmingly African and Anglican in outlook, in my opinion, and that is a good things!] that is proclaiming light in the presence of darkness at all costs and teaching the world that they would prefer “the suffering of this world more than the suffering of Hell”), and the Welsh theologian-preacher, The Rev. Dr. Lindsay Brown (theology played a larger role in this Lausanne, helping us to come face to face with “cooperation without compromise” and thus Dr. Brown’s part will be most appropriate as well) this service will be, without a doubt, the perfect conclusion to a most beneficial congress—the single best conference I have ever attended. So I told myself, “I will write about the service afterwards.” That was my plan. Then, my plan came face-to-face with the reality of my travel plans, which include close to 30 hours of travel, if everything is on time (it was 37 hours coming here). I did not know if my spirit, which is willing, could keep up with my body, which is unwilling if not suspect at any rate! I also felt that if I tried to write about the service in a few days, I would have lost something of it. So I am writing about a taste, literally, of things to come. The more I thought about writing this final post in these Lessons from Lausanne, before the closing event tonight, the more I liked it. You see what we have all experienced here is really a time of fellowship, teaching, Bible study, presentations about “God on the move” in every corner of the earth—major movements and minor movements within the greater Movement of God—the diversity and beauty of the Body of Christ from all over the earth, leaders and students, a waxing generation of leaders with visions and dream, as well as a waning generation of leaders who have run the race and fought the good fight. We have met, talked, prayed, listened, preached, witnessed, laughed and sometimes wept, broke bread at table, and talked about our families, our lives, our ministries, our countries, our burdens and our testimonies to how Jesus Christ saved us. We have done so in the hotels and coffee shops of Cape Town, in the spring sunshine with our white-box-meals at lunchtime, sitting on concrete walls surrounding a lagoon (with our legs dangling like children at school lunchtime) in a square outside of the Convention Center, and dining together at restaurants (serving African game! —from which I refrained with utmost respect for others who did not) at the attractive Waterfront district. We have been the Body of Christ gathered in a ministry of strategic vision. Tonight, though, we will be the Church gathered in a ministry of reflective prayer. We will be the Church gathered in holy remembrance and sanctifying anticipation to a coming gathering at the Table of Jesus. Our dreams, visions, hopes, and plans will give way to the liturgical and spiritual drama, instituted by Christ, that will lead us back to Calvary’s Cross and to the Lamb of God, given for us. We will, in a word, come back to Jesus. We will be recalibrated, in all of our lives, back to the Cross and because He said to do this until He comes again, we will be reoriented forward to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.[1] Thus, in this, we will also be looking upward to heaven. We will leave Cape Town 2010 being reminded that all that we are doing is leading us to a day when Jesus Himself will have brought all of His children safely in, through the preaching of the Gospel to the world, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth.

We are living in a time in history when there is an angel circling overhead, as it were (Rev. 14:6) inspiring us, pointing us, to be “God’s people on the move” “with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.” But we will rest tonight on the promise that our labor is not the destination with Christ, but the journey to Christ. The destination is really the place we started, with Jesus—with Jesus at Creation, with Jesus throughout the Old Testament days of preparation, with Jesus at Advent, with Jesus in His perfect life lived for us, with Jesus at His passion, with Jesus on the Cross who died for us, with Jesus in the tomb, with Jesus who rose again from the dead for us, and greeted the frightened disciples, with “Peace,” with Jesus ascended, with Jesus interceding for His saints, with Jesus coming into our lives and beckoning us to “repent and believe the Gospel,” and with Jesus now reigning over His Church and directing us to the places He wants us to go through the leading of the Holy Spirit. Yes, we will return to Him tonight, as we are led together to the Lord’s Supper, and in that bread and cup, we will be led forward to the inevitable, unstoppable, final and full in-breaking of the Kingdom of God, which is the reason for world evangelization: the salvation of our souls and the eternal worship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So I complete these written lessons here—there are so many more that I must work out and discover in subsequent prayer. I complete them by looking forward to a gathering of thousands of saints gathered around the Lord’s Table tonight, worshipping Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords—a taste of things to come.

[1] And the angel said to me, “Write this: blessed are those who are invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” and he said to me, “these are the true words of God.” Revelation 19.9


About Michael A. Milton, Ph.D.

Michael A. Milton, Ph.D., MPA (University of Wales; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), is an American Presbyterian pastor, theologian, and author.
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