Here at the Feast of Tabernacles in Kuressaare, Estonia, we continued a tradition that is unknown to me and not very common if it is familiar at any other Feast site, and that is something called the anticipation circle. At previous years, people attending the Feast of Tabernacles in Estonia had been asked about how they came into contact with the Church of God or how they met their mate, the second of which would not be something I could answer. Those people who spoke were asked to limit their answer to about 1-2 minutes so as to provide plenty of time for others to speak. This year we were asked about who we wanted to see in the second resurrection, as it was the beginning of the Eighth Day when the anticipation circle was held . This year, about forty people showed up to give an answer, some of them going on for well more than two minutes, and a few more people waited outside for the ceremony to be done so that they could come inside and enjoy the snacks and drinks afterward.
Now, I will not repeat what I said for myself what I said in the circle, although I will give a hint about who I talked about meeting in the second resurrection . I will admit that my answer would have been different had the answer included the first resurrection. Most of the people with whom I have unpleasant unfinished business are either alive, in which case there is still a chance for reconciliation between us and between them and God, or are those I would expect to see in the first resurrection. Obviously, the most poignant example of these is my father . I wonder if my father will ever come to the place where he is able to apologize to me for what he did and ask my forgiveness, so that I may forgive him and unburden him of one of the heavier weights that I know must have burdened his heart during those lonely last twenty or so years of his life when he reflected on our broken family and on his own role in its brokenness. I am not the sort of person who wishes to torment anyone or hold something over anyone’s head, and I would gladly relieve him of anything that would trouble his conscience, even knowing all of the suffering that I have endured, because I know my father was a tormented soul who diligently sought to do what is right, and I know better than most people what it is like to be a tormented soul with a heart and mind full of terrible and unendurable burdens. Far be it from me to add to the weight of torment someone else was suffering. It should be our fondest desire to free others of their burdens as much as it is within our power to do.
There was a lot of crying around the anticipation circle when people reflected upon the people that they wanted to see in the second resurrection. A lot of people wanted to help teach deceased relatives about God’s way, and many more had unfinished business with dead relatives. A few people, like myself, chose historical people that they wanted to meet for one reason or another, like to better understand and come to terms with the past. The most touching examples were stories about relatives who had lived deeply difficult childhoods but who had done considerably well for themselves, as well as the two women who spoke of stillborn children within their families, either their own dead child or a dead nephew. Those stories were particularly heartbreaking, as was the story of the young gentleman next to me who spoke of wanting to see a deceased friend of his who had died of a drug overdose at the age of 19. More inspiring, if no less touching, was the story of one of the russophone Estonians who told the story of how a vision of his deceased grandfather, who had been shot and killed in the Stalinist purge of 1937 saved him and two of his fellow soldiers while they were serving in the Soviet army in the early 1970’s when their improvised shelter had caught on fire.
There were a few observations I had while I was listening to the other people in the anticipation circle and thinking about it afterward. For one, it was clear that many of us, myself included, have a lot of unfinished business in life. We have people with whom we have been estranged for one reason or another that we wish to know better in the light of enjoying all eternity with them and helping them to reach eternal life themselves. Perhaps that is why the new heavens and the new earth and the promise that there will be no more pain or sorrow or crying (see the first few verses of Revelation 21) after all of that business has been dealt with, and after there is some sense of closure where all of us have come to terms with what came before us, with our background and our childhood and the context of human history insofar as it relates to us, so that everything makes sense and everyone has had the opportunity to know God and follow His ways and come to grips with their own actions and face the judgment of the Eternal. It is our fond hope that there will be both mercy and justice, and that there will be malice towards none and charity towards all in that day of judgment. This world has known suffering long enough–it will be a glorious day when the world and the people who have dwelt on it will finally learn peace, and will make peace with others in their lives, including we ourselves. Oh Lord, come quickly.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: