“Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” (Is. 51:11)
One of my earliest memories in church as a child is singing a song based almost word for word on this verse. John Frame, one of the greatest theologians of our time, was our Music Minister at my family’s church in California, and I specifically remember him stopping us in the middle of singing this song one time, in order to teach us to properly clap on beat to the song. I thought about trying to teach it to you this morning, but maybe another time.
Every week, we celebrate our return from the exile of sin and death. Every week we come with singing unto Zion with an everlasting joy upon our heads. This world is still full of sorrow and mourning, but we gather here because Jesus has come back from the dead. Jesus has taken away our sins. And now even sickness and failure and shame and death cannot and will not have the last word. And because Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath and gave His body broken on a tree, we have this bread that will never fail and this cup of everlasting joy. And as we share it together, we lift it up to God and remind Him of His promises to us in Jesus to put all things right, and we remind one another that sorrow and mourning will not have the last word. They shall flee away. So come and rejoice.