Please join us for Worship.
The music this week is from the Music group, and both hymns have been recorded remotely.
The Communications Team, the AV Team, the Music Group and Piggery Brae have all contributed greatly to the production of these videos. We hope you enjoy.
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In my Father’s House
John 14: 1 – 14
Dame Vera Lynn’s song is so emotive and encapsulates the sense of longing and hope of reunion with oved ones. And especially for the hope of meeting again those who would not be coming back but meet again in the life here after.
It was in the upper room, where Jesus spoke to reassure his bemused disciples that there is a life beyond. He was going ahead of them. Do not be worried and upset Jesus told his disciples. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Where was Jesus going?
How could they get where he was going?
Could they go with him?
These were some of the perplexing questions that tumbled around in their minds and hearts and were tossed back and forth in their conversation at the table.
How did Jesus calm their troubled hearts?
By talking about his father’s house.
This was home for Jesus. Remember when he was just 12 years of age, his parents mistakenly left him behind while they travelled home to Nazareth? When they eventually returned looking for him, full of anxiety remember his words to them, “Do you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house? It was his true spiritual, home. He would later say to his disciples that he and the father were one. It was an intimately close relationship. Home was with the Father in his father’s house.
In the Old Testament the temple was where God dwelt and met with humanity. But that was symbolic of a heavenly home. It is one that we sing of with deep faith and longing in the 23rd psalm.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.Psalm 23 – The Lord’s My Shepard
So the Father’s house is heaven itself.
It is the place where God dwells and where Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father.
Heaven is described as A Kingdom
“and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”2 Peter 1:11
and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,1 Peter 1:4
A Country, and A city (Hebrews 11:16)
Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.Hebrews 11:16
But here we have the picture of heaven as a home.
A home. What is home? A place of belonging, of security, where you are accepted, welcomed, loved. Some years ago a London newspaper held a contest to determine the best definition of home. The winning entry was, “Home is the place where you are treated the best and complain the most.”
The poet Robert Frost said
‘Home is the place that, when you arrive there, they have to take you in.’Robert Frost, The Death of the Hired Man
The father’s house is home for God’s children.
It is a spacious place.
Many rooms, mansions. Room for all kinds of people, never crowded. Jesus is preparing places for all believers, and each place will be beautiful. It is a spiritual home.
When he was here in earth, Jesus was a carpenter. Now that he has returned to glory, he is building a church on earth and a home for that church in heaven.
Jesus will take us there.
So wonderful is Christ’s love for his own that he is not satisfied with the idea of sending his people to heaven. He must take them into his own embrace. “I will come back and take you to myself.”
You know what it feels like to be invited to a party, or a wedding, where you don’t know anyone. It feels awkward when you have to make your own way there and when you get there, there is no one to welcome you or show you where to go. How different it is when the host themselves come to the door to meet you and bids you accompany them. You feel much more relaxed, you feel great. Can you imagine Jesus showing you around personally? Have you met Moses? here is Elijah, over there is Paul, Peter. In a sense we could say “Oh yes I’ve read all about you. What was that burning bush like Moses? And there your family await to greet you!
Jesus will take us there personally. He is the way to his father’s house. It may be unknown, and uncertain so he says trust in God, trust also in me. Although the details of eternity are unknown, we need not fear because Jesus is preparing a place for us, he will take us there and he will spend eternity with us, face to face.
So how would this assurance of going to heaven help calm those troubled disciples’ hearts?
Dr. James M. Gray (1851-1935), former president of Moody Bible Institute put it beautifully in a song he wrote years ago:
Who could mind the journey, when the road leads home?O pilgrim as you journey, Do you ever gladly say, Dr. James M. Gray
The assurance of a heavenly home at the end of life’s road enables us to bear joyfully with the obstacles and battles along the way. It was this assurance that even encouraged our Lord, “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.”
Paul had this truth in mind when he wrote:
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.”Romans 8:18
The promise of future glory sustained many along the years. Even Elvis Presley had a song In My Father’s House with the line
But I know that soon there’ll come a bright tomorrowIn My Father’s House, Elvis Presley
It’s a sentiment repeated in Dame Vera Lynn’s song,
We’ll meet again, don’t know where nor when, but we’ll meet again one sunny day. So keep smiling through, till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.We’ll Meet Again, Dame Vera Lynn
The scenes of joyous celebration of these past few days will pale into insignificance when we meet Jesus face to face.
So, in the midst of these trying and troubling times, let us hold fast to the promises of Jesus. Look forward with confidence that we’ll meet again one sunny day in our Father’s house and what a day that will be.
“In My Father’s House”
Recorded by Elvis Presley
In my father’s house are many mansions
If it were not true he would have told me so
He has gone away to live in that bright city
He’s preparing me a mansion there I know
Jesus died upon the cross to bear my sorrow
Freely died that souls like you might have new life
But I know that soon there’ll come a bright tomorrow
When the world will all be free from sin and strife
(Do not shun the saviors love, from up in glory)
(Or you won’t be there to sing the gospel story)
In my father’s house are many mansions
If you’re true then to this land you’ll surely go