Maranatha!

David Ruis, Apr 06, 2022, 1:53 AM
David Ruis National Director
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Perhaps it is time for us to reclaim an ancient greeting, and prayer, used by some of the earliest followers of Jesus.

Maranatha!

Followers of Jesus who lived under Roman rule would greet each other with the hopeful Aramaic word "Maranatha," meaning "the Lord is coming" or "come, O Lord." This became a watchword particularly for those who were facing persecution and insurmountable challenges. Believers would often use "Maranatha" in place of the standard Hebrew "Shalom" acknowledging that it was in Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the Messianic hope of not only Israel, but indeed the whole world, that true peace would be established forever. Their thoughts, trust and hope were not in the political leaders or system of the day but resting on a patient posture of faith and life that cultivated an anticipation of Jesus' return.

The writer of Hebrews captures this sentiment stating in Hebrews 2:8, that though we do not see everything fully subject to the kingdom in this liminal space of the "now and the not yet", we nonetheless do see Jesus. Paul picks up the theme at the end of his life, writing in 2 Timothy 4:8, "Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness (justice), which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day - and not only me but also to all who have longed for his appearing." (parenthesis and italics mine)

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!"
And let the one who hears say, "Come!"
Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
(Revelation 22:17)

Depending on how it is translated, the phrase "Maranatha!" can mean "Our Lord has come," "Come, Lord" or "Our Lord is Coming." There has been debate among scholars as to which is most accurate, but not only are all of these congruent with the writings of the New Testament, it succinctly captures the classic tension in our Vineyard understanding of the kingdom come and coming and our desire to be a people of Jesus immediate presence with us.

All who are thirsty
All who are weak
Come to the fountain
Dip your heart in the streams of life

Let the pain and the sorrow
Be washed away
In the waves of His mercy
As deep cries out to deep, we sing

Come Lord Jesus Come

Brenton Brown & Glenn Robertson [c] 1998 Vineyard Songs (UK/Eire)

We are living in a time of cataclysmic shifts. Truly an apocalyptic moment. Who knows how long it will take for us to realize the lasting impact of COVID upon the world, for example? And this is but just one thing re-shaping our societal constructs, economic systems, work environments and faith communities. All of this is happening at a speed and with a global synchronicity that perhaps we have never experienced before.

Another example. If you're still wondering how to "reach the Millennials", well, quite frankly, that ship in some ways already has passed. Welcome Generation Z. Take note, 91% of GenZ lives outside of North America and Europe and they are poised to shape our present and our immediate future. "If we remember anything about Generation Z it will be their ability to have taken on an uncertain future with a mix of adaptability, resourcefulness, precocious maturity, and a swiss army knife of tools designed by the generation before them. They will take lemons and make lemonade. And in doing so, they will redefine what it means to thrive as an adult for generations to come. Millennials built the instruments. Gen Z is our master orchestra." (A Global Look at Gen Z. Introducing the Self Made Generation. propellerfish.com)

And it goes on. Mass graves uncovered on the grounds of Canadian Residential Schools and in the smoking rubble of recovered Ukraine cities. The roller coaster ride of Crypto Currency and the unstoppable emergence of a gig economy. A world where tech rules and the nerds are the highest paid among us. Social media spaces where everyone is an expert, one post can set off a war and where the influencers are the cream of society.

One of the most counterintuitive, kingdom centric things we can do at this moment is breathe. Slow down. Exercise patience. Cultivate the practice of waiting.

Come Lord Jesus Come.

As we discern what our next steps are in our individual lives, our families and in our communities. As we pray for our country and all those in authority. As we intercede for the nations. As we prepare with expectant hearts for our upcoming "Just Jesus" National Celebration in Calgary this summer.

Come Lord Jesus Come.

Maranatha!