There are moments, sweet spaces in time, where the worries and pains of this life melt away — we find ourselves caught up in the hope of a world that is, and that is still yet to come. We are taken back by the beauty of the here and now, something tangible that both delights us in the present and simultaneously catapults us into wonder of the perfected future version that is ours and will be ours, secured by Christ himself. It is our hope in the promise that He will wipe away every tear that makes our troubles now, for this instant, fade into the background and we feel ourselves relax and exhale inside of this tiny glimpse. We are moved into worshiping our God who truly cares enough about us as His created beings — now called children, that he would draw us into this intense moment with but a whisper from the Spirit, “I’m going to prepare a place for you that where I am, you will be also” and “lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”.
Essentially, “I am with you here and I will be with you there and both are a delight to Me”.
These moments stop us dead in our tracks and take our breath away, as our joy begins to mingle with an inner groaning, filled with thankfulness that He is here in this place with us, while longing for that place in time, where time itself just ceases to be altogether. We long to be with Christ, to have our faces cupped by the hands that hold our reconciliation with scars. We ache to be embraced by the arms that once outstretched in cruciform, removed our sins from us so far as the East is from the West. We yearn to recline our heads on His chest and to feel the safety of His love that has been ours all this time. Though we have not seen him, we love him. Though we do not now see him, we believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory — we hope now by faith while longing for the moment when faith finally becomes sight.
I stepped foot into Central Park this past week and my heart began to flutter. All of the tall New York buildings with their impressive architecture were pushed back, and the openness of nature that I am so accustomed to here in the south granted a sense of familiarity in this place. My husband and I climbed up on this giant rock and stretched out. The weather was perfectly cool and as we lay in the warm sun, a saxophone played in the distance. Eventually we got up and made our way down the winding paths to Bethesda fountain.
A group of people were standing beneath the Bethesda terrace singing hymns as we approached. Their voices echoed throughout the area, “give us grace, give us hope…” as I listened to them sing, I turned to see the activity going on around us. There was as man with a bucket making giant bubbles with two sticks and a rope. Children were surrounding him, trying to pop the bubbles and giggling loudly in sheer delight, which caused the bubble maker to join them in laughter. A few feet from him, another man was wildly juggling pins while onlookers stood grinning and talking among themselves.
“When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,” began to echo from under the terrace, and it all hit me at once: This is a glimpse of what is, and is yet to come. As Robert Capon says, “creation is the result of a trinitarian bash” we are part of the divine party:
He would keep thinking up all kinds of unnecessary things—new ways of being and new kinds of beings to be. And as they talked, God the Son suddenly said, “Really, this is absolutely great stuff why don’t I go out and mix us up a batch?” And God the Holy Spirit said, “Terrific! I’ll help you.” So they all pitched in, and after supper that night, the Son and the Holy Spirit put on this tremendous show of being for the Father. It was full of water and light and frogs; pine cones kept dropping all over the place, and crazy fish swam around in the wine glasses. There were mushrooms and mastodons, grapes and geese, tornadoes and tigers—and men and women everywhere to taste them, to juggle them, to join them, and to love them. And God the Father looked at the whole wild party and said, “Wonderful! Just what I had in mind! (The Romance of the Word: One Man’s Love Affair With Theology, Capon pg 176)
With the musicians, the bubble maker, juggler, gleeful onlookers, those rowing boats in the distance, the artists drawing sketched portraits of patrons, and lovers holding hands while gazing into one another’s eyes as if they were the only people in this beautiful place, picnics complete with wine — all under a canopy of blooming trees, is also the watchful, doting eye of this trinitarian God.
As we play together in this place, even in the midst of undeniable brokenness, we delight our heavenly Father because we are doing that which He intended for us to do all along. When we, because of his grace, dare to dance in belief of his promise that this is not the end, that evil has already lost, then we are capturing for that moment in time a glimpse of what is, and what is still to come — that is, the delight of the Creator who has reconciled all things to Himself.
“The new heavens and the new earth are not replacements for the old ones; they are transfigurations of them. The redeemed order is not the created order forsaken; it is the created order – all of it – raised and glorified.” (Kingdom, Grace, and Judgment – Capon, 126)