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28 April 2013

Sermon: Easter 5 C (Epistle)

28 April AD 2013

Title: Here Comes the Bride (MP3 Audio)

Revelation 21:2
Summary: The overworked and ponderous “Bridal Chorus (Treulich geführt)” from Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin is often called “Here Comes the Bride” in English. This begat a parody sung especially by school children but known by many. It begins, “Here comes the bride, big, fat, and wide.” Because of its pagan roots, sentimentalism, and the mockery it engenders, many pastors and priests refuse to use it in Christian weddings.

Yet today we read of a bride that seems to match this description — this “holy city, new Jerusalem” is big (12,000 stadia tall), fat (12,000 stadia thick) and wide (12,000 stadia across). Each edge of this huge cube measures about 1,380 miles, giving it a volume of 2,628,072,000 cubic miles, over one percent of the world’s entire volume. This may sound small, but it's roughly equivalent to the surface area of Australia and everything beneath it tapering down to the center of the earth.

Does this mean that our eternal dwelling place is a giant cube like something occupied by Star Trek’s Borg Collective? Of course not! This visionary language, in line with most of Revelation, is another example of God turning things “inside-out” when making all things new.

Under the Old Covenant, the only cube Scripture reveals is the Holy of Holies, the most sacred part of Tabernacle and Temple, the place where the Ark of the Covenant sat and where the Lord ruled His people in grace rather than wrath. No one except the high priest on the Day of Atonement was allowed entry.

The New Creation has no temple (Revelation 21:22) yet it has the fulfillment of the Holy of Holies. Instead of sinful mankind gathering outside, hoping for mediation, we who are redeemed by Christ and who believe in Him will live within this “cubical city,” the place of God’s presence, pardon, and peace. Christ our great High Priest opened the way and the top-down tearing of the separating curtain at Jesus’ death (Matthew 27:51) testified to this new, full, and eternal access He provides us to our Father.

Revelation 21:15-17 Text: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son....”

And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. Revelation 21:1-7, 15-16

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Here Comes the Bride, preached to the saints of God at Faith Lutheran Church, Knob Noster, Missouri.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 148; Acts 11:1-18; John 16:12-22

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