Day Will Come Again
One of my favorite sayings is that the best fiction is true. Growing up I remember being taught that non-fiction meant a story was true, and fiction meant it was made up (at least that’s how 8 year old me remembers it).
Recently my wife and I were watching Casablanca (I had never seen it and heard it was a classic). The whole movie was really entertaining, but then it took a turn toward the emotional for me. The movie takes place in World War 2, in an area that is clearly about to be occupied by the Nazis. While sitting in a cafe the Germans begin to sing their national anthem, and in a moment of defiance a freedom fighter leads a chorus of the French national anthem to drown them out.
The people begin to sing with tears in their eyes, a woman who has been passed from character to character shouts along, taking this moment to realize her value, a wife looks with pride at her husband as he leads the whole cafe in defiance of what’s coming. It is a room full of people who know the darkest days they will ever know are on their doorstep, and yet they stand and sing to show that they believe the light can’t go out forever.
Crying at the Movies – Who Me?
And then I started to get emotional because the scene moved me. At first I thought it was just the scene by itself, and then I began to think about it more. It reminded me of a passage from a J.R.R. Tolkien story (I’m a huge nerd but stay with me on this). In this story the hero and his army stand their ground against impossible odds to allow others to escape. When the final man is the last one standing he begins to swing his weapon, and with every swing he shouts “Day will come again!”
There is something true about both of these fictional stories. By themselves they are great stories, and in light of the Gospel they become something more.
That’s what great fiction does, it reminds us of a deeper truth that we know in our hearts. It grabs at something in our soul that stirs when God’s reality is revealed just a little bit. When those moments come they can increase our affection for our Lord even more.
As Christians our stance is always shouting into the darkness that we know what’s coming. Declaring even when we don’t see the hope that we know the end of our story. Peter reminds us in his first letter “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” (1 Peter 1:13)
In other words,no matter the situation we’re in we need to always remember what our ultimate hope is, namely that Jesus is coming back. That he will make all things new, and we will experience the perfect relationship with God that we lost when sin entered the world. What both of those fictional stories pointed to was that there was a time when things were right, and that it would return. Or to put it another way, day will come again.
The Early Church’s Hope Lay in Day Coming Too
The early church had to remind themselves of this hope every day. They were experiencing persecution on a level that we can’t imagine in the modern west (although this persecution is still happening in other parts of the world). They had their property taken, they were ostracized, they were killed, and through it all they held onto the hope that even in this darkness the light of Christ could never be put out.
Even if we do not experience the level of terror put upon our ancestors, we still have moments of hopelessness, what some refer to as the dark night of the soul. In those moments we can stand up and know that our hope is in Jesus. We can sing because we know how the battle ends, and we know Yahweh comes out on top. We can shout day will come again because we know that whatever this world throws at us, God has redeemed us already. These stories stir in our hearts the reality that we live every day.
The last thing I think we should do is reflect on the beauty of what we are looking forward to. Read this, and rest in the hope that it offers:
“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.” (Revelation 21:1-7)
Perhaps the most beautiful phrase in all of scripture reminds us that Yahweh is our God, and that we are his children. No matter what this world throws at us, that can’t be taken away.