“Come to paradise,” says an ad featuring white sands, turquoise water, and waving palm trees. It’s as if we are being given a glimpse of Eden rediscovered.
Not long ago, my wife and I took a trip to the Bahamas. Those marvelous coral-reef islands have a unique beauty. Yet, for us the environment alone did not seem like paradise. Something was missing.
Then on Sunday we found what we had been looking for. We attended a church off the beaten path. The service was 3 hours long, but it was filled with vibrant worship. With beautiful Bahamian accents the pastor and his congregation took turns quoting Scripture throughout the sermon. My wife and I left the service energized in our faith.
I was reminded of Revelation’s witness to the future chorus: “They sang as it were a new song before the throne” (Rev. 14:3). One day “God will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying” (21:4). What a day of rejoicing that will be!
Our worship here is a mere prelude to the great praise service in the future when we stand in God’s presence. But sometimes when we join with others in vibrant worship, we experience an echo of paradise on this earth.
If God has made this world so fair,
Where sin and death abound,
How beautiful beyond compare
Will paradise be found! —Montgomery
When God wipes our tears, sorrow gives way to eternal song.