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Saturday, January 2, 2016

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 as their God; 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)

The book of Revelation has always been a challenging mystery to me. Rather than facing the challenge, I’ve often put it aside for understanding at a later date. Then I received the assignment that I was to write a devotion for Revelation 21:1–4. Time’s up!

Revelation 1:3: “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”

How am I blessed? I kept this question in the forefront of my thoughts as I read 21:1–4. The answer was overwhelming. On a personal level I am blessed in so many ways. Thinking beyond that limited scope it occurred to me: what if the new heaven and earth are here right now and we need to understand that in a new way? We can live as a part of the body of Christ here and now by living in a way that fosters unconditional love and inclusivity. What a blessing!

Creator God, the world that you have given us is so amazing--a place of beauty and the promise of new life as we experience the cycle of the seasons. Forgive us for the many ways we disappoint your hope for us. Open our hearts and our minds so that we may live more fully in your grace. I pray this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Written by Barbara Timberlake, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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