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Already, but Not Yet
By: Chris Culver

View Larger Want to know the worst thing my parents did to me when I was a child? Would you like a glimpse into how they mocked, taunted, and tortured me? One year, I was probably six; they sat my sister and me down and told us that we were going to Disney World…in a month! A month! Do you know how long a month is to a child? Time for an adult is like a train bearing down on you, but time in childhood is a malleable thing. The months of summer are a mere week but the month until Disney was a lifetime away! The tickets were bought, the room reserved, and the money was saved. Promises were made. But everyday for a month we got up and went to school, did homework, and tried to be interested in our suddenly drab world. We had been shown the brochures that made even Friday nights with the Dukes of Hazard dull. We lived in the “Not Yet” longing for the glorious promise of a Disney vacation already purchased for us.   That’s one thing that makes Raphael’s masterpiece The Transfiguration so amazing. Two scenes from Matthew 17 are depicted. Our eyes are drawn to Jesus on the mountaintop with Moses and Elijah. For the first time Peter, John, and James are seeing him as he really is. The veil is pulled back and his wonder, beauty, power, and worth are on full display. They are stunned. But back down the mountain the other disciples are struggling with life. Soon the ones on the mountain will rejoin them. Life will go on.   We live longing for the promised reality of Jesus’ return. He is coming to make all things new, but we live in the “Not Yet.” It has happened. It is a sure thing. It is the “Already.” The price has been paid and those who through faith belong to Jesus will be raised up from the dead. But today there is laundry. And bills are due soon. And my son woke up saying his ear hurts. And there is injustice in the world. People are going hungry. Wars are being fought. But Jesus is no less glorious in the dust of life than he is on the mountaintop. It is worship, prayer, community, and discipleship that reminds us of the “Already” and gives us strength in the “Not Yet.”