Angels

From Rev. John Odhner, Assistant to the Pastor
October 7, 2019

This past weekend many visitors came to Bryn Athyn to enjoy Charter Day celebrations. Someone I had not seen in 45 years greeted me with a warm smile and a bear hug. There is something wonderful about reuniting with people with whom we have shared values and faith. It was particularly heartwarming to see the class of 1969 reuniting half a century after their graduation with over half their class present.

I asked one visitor how the weekend was. The answer: “Too short.” I agreed. A quick hug was all the time I had with a dear friend I would rather have spent hours with. But the shortness of the visit is balanced by the knowledge that there will be future reunions, and eventually one without any time limits.

“It was customary with the ancients when people died, to say that they were gathered to their fathers or to their peoples, and they understood by this form of expression that they actually went to their parents, relations, and kinsfolk in the other life. They derived this form of speech from the Most Ancient people, who were heavenly people, for while living on earth these were at the same time with the angels in heaven, and thus knew how the case is, namely, that all who are in the same good meet and are together in the other life, and likewise all who are in the same truth.” Secrets of Heaven 3255

We see in the New Testament Lazarus “gathered to his fathers”—specifically to Father Abraham (Luke 16), and heaven is described in Revelation (chapter 7) as a great reunion of all the tribes of Israel.

When the Lord was preparing to leave this world, He told His disciples how much He was looking forward to their reunion: “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father…. I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”  John 16:16, 22

“As soon as we arrive in the other life, we are all recognized by our friends and relatives and by people we have known in one way or another. Further, we talk with each other and continue to see each other in keeping with our friendship in the world. I have heard many people who had just come from the world overjoyed to see their friends again, and their friends overjoyed that they had arrived.” Heaven and Hell 494

One way we prepare for that final reunion is by doing the work of becoming an angel here on earth. Bryn Athyn Church is beginning a series of services and small groups focused on Angels. Why not sign up for a group? Think of it as planning for your final reunion.


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