Recently, my younger sister came to visit me. We have not seen each other in over twenty years. We write and send each other birthday cards, but we have not talked on the phone or seen each other since the early 1990's. She decided to take a vacation and came from California to spend three days with me.
As the time for our visit drew close, I felt the anxiety build. Much like preparing for a for a school reunion, a vacation, or another special event, my emotions started to build up. As the day got nearer I didn't sleep well even though I kept myself busy durinng the day. Finally, the weekend arrived and we had a great visit. We reminisced, shared, got each other "caught up" on everything going on in our lives, and had a very good weekend.
As the weekend drew to a close we knew that our time was almost up. We celebrated and committed to keep in closer contact. Then the weekend was over and I watched my sister go through the sliding door of the visiting room and climb onto the bus that would take her out of the facility. I was searched and then I came back to my cell.
As I was contemplating this and talking about it to others, I nick-named this time "The After." With the Fall feast days in the Jewish calendar coming up, I made a connection to their lives. Some of them would travel many miles to arrive at the Temple for the celebrations. They would eat, fellowship, worship, dance, and then the celebration was over for another year. After this came, "The After." They had to go back to their normal lives of farming or raising sheep and get ready for the winter months. The presence of the Lord (that they celebrated in the Temple) was now a long way off.
Under the New Covenant there is no lack of presence. Jesus came and God is now with us. For the person in the New Covenant the presence of the Holy Spirit is inside of us (Colossians 1:27). He is our guarantee of something much better than the shadow of this life.
"The After" is done away with under the New Covenant.