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Opening THE Book with Rev John K-S January 2021

JOHN KINCHIN-SMITH

Rev John Kinchin-Smith
Assistant Minister, St Andrew’s Church, Gorleston

 

I guess that many will look back on 2020 as a year they might rather forget. It has not only been a year of untold suffering and death through Covid-19, but the year continued to witness countless natural disasters, conflicts, terror, and war in many countries, the rise of populist right-wing governments, the suffering of millions of refugees and the ongoing effects of pollution, climate change and environmental destruction. For many the year has also been one of personal pain through the loss of employment, livelihood, security, physical or mental health and the death of a loved one. At the beginning of 2021, where does one find hope?
 
In the previous three ‘Opening the Book’ articles we looked at what the Bible says about death and the questions: “What happens when we die? Is this the only life? Is there life after death? Does heaven exist? If so, what’s it like? How can I know that I will go there?” Over the next three months we will look at what the Bible says about the future here on earth. Is history going somewhere, for example, or will everything continue the same, or get even worse? The Bible gives clear answers to these questions and within the answers finds ‘HOPE’, not only for the life-to-come but also for this world too. This hope is based on two main teachings: first, God will bring to an end the world as we know it; second, the Jesus of history, who came in humility and poverty two thousand years ago, will come again to this world in power and glory. In the Bible these two teachings are integrally related
 
OPEN BIBLEThat ‘the world as we know it will end’ brings hope is because it assures us that history is actually going somewhere, and that God is in control. As we discovered in November and December, both the prophet Isaiah (chapter 25) and John (writing in Revelation chapter 21) speak of a time when there will be no more death, suffering, or pain. Jesus spoke about his return many times in the Gospels; other books in the New Testament also write about this. And Jesus’ return in glory brings hope because it assures us that what is true, beautiful, loving and good will have the final word. We will explore these further next month
   

also published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine

 


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