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Maranatha, for all our days



 

In the night I search for you;

in the morning I earnestly seek you.

For when your judgments are in the earth,

the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

(Isaiah 26:9)

 

 

New Year’s Eve straddles this existential precipice, where people thoughtfully peer back over the past year and look ahead into the new.

 

Christian’s spiritually practice something similar with every observance of the Lord’s Supper. It’s something inherited from our spiritual forefathers—as certain remembrances were commanded by God for His people.

 

Continually looking back with thanksgiving at what God has done, looking forward in hope at what He will do, and looking up in worship, every moment, is an abiding life. It’s one lived in the tenses of the Lord.

 

What are those tenses?

 

There is an all-encompassing word – one so rich with meaning to suitably launch this new year – which covers all the tenses of the Lord—past, present, and future. It’s maranatha.

 

Maranatha is to confess our Lord has come.

 

Maranatha is to proclaim our Lord is coming.

 

Maranatha is to pray, “Lord, come!”

 

Maranatha was used as a sort of password by the first Christians. At a time when Christians were persecuted by Greeks, Jews, and Romans, they used this Aramaic word to secretly identify other Christians. It was part of their shared experience. It was something they believed. Held onto. Lived.

 

A precise English translation doesn't exist, however. From what I read, the way the word is divided determines its tense. When written marana-tha it means, “Our Lord, come!” But when it’s written as maran-atha it means “Our Lord has come!” And yet other scholars have translated its meaning based upon ancient use as “Our Lord is coming.”

 

All three meanings are true—at the same time.

 

The heart that belongs to Christ declares emphatically that He has come. It longingly pleads for His return. And has an unwavering confidence that He is coming.

 

It’s as though maranatha reflects the eternality of God’s presence.

 

So our hearts can rest in Him in every tense.

 

And the anthem of our hearts for 2024 can be Maranatha!

 

We can step into a year that already holds uncertainty with a courage that proclaims, “Our Lord has come!”

 

Armed with the gospel truth that His salvation is ours, we can fearlessly say, “Lord, come!”

 

And, because of the Lord’s faithfulness to His every Word, we know He is coming again.

 

But, I wonder . . .

 

These verses fall fresh on my mind . . . and heavy on my heart: “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:9-11 emphasis mine).

 

So I wonder, will He be recognized? Received?

 

He wasn’t with His first coming. He was tragically missed by multitudes then.

 

But the Word of God is clear. Everyone will know Him when He returns. And those in Christ, filled with the Spirit and abiding in His Word, who are faithfully watching in the wait surely will. (All the more reason to live in a maranatha state-of-mind.)

 

We can have the mind of the prophet and psalmist alike who earnestly sought the Lord morning and night. We can seek the Alpha and Omega, the Ever-Present One, Who has come, will come, and is coming . . . and find Him.

 

We can look past all the unknowns of the year ahead with these things in mind . . . and a hope everlasting.

 

Make maranatha a part of your everyday vocabulary because it’s a faith-word for all our days—no matter the year.

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