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Friday, September 27, 2013

Today’s Reading | Revelation 21:1−4

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, the 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,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.” (NRSV)


Reflection

The Bible was written by many different people from various places in ancient Israel across centuries of history. It is therefore no surprise that instead of a single coherent book, what we have in the Bible is a library of numerous books bound together as a type of anthology of sacred scripture. Part of the beauty of this collection is that we get a multitude of voices reflecting Israel’s storied history of interaction between humanity and the divine.

Yet when this somewhat disparate collection is bound together between two covers into a single volume, it becomes something different. It can, in fact, be read as a coherent book that tells a story stretching all the way from creation to the end of history as we know it. And there are clear themes that bind this story together.

One of these themes finds its conclusion in today’s reading from the last book of the Bible. The “heaven on earth” described here, in which God will once again dwell with humanity, points all the way back to the story of the Garden of Eden, when humanity and God existed together in peace. As the story is told in the Bible, the period between Eden and Revelation is characterized by separation and estrangement between God and God’s children. But this vision of Revelation gives us hope that one day that existential divide will be reconciled forever. That’s a story—and a hope—worth sharing.


Prayer

God of grace, thank you for reaching out to us in love and giving us hope that one day our prayer for “heaven on earth” will be realized. Amen.


Written by John Vest, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry


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