View print-optimized version

Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Revelation 21:1–6a

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.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” (NRSV)

We’re remembering All Saints Day today, and I find Revelation 21 comforting in the grief we carry. It holds the hope that death will end and all suffering will cease. This passage is grounded in the hope that God will make all things new. Oh, do we need this and, oh, how my heart hurts for this peace that passes all our understanding. And yet, I love how this passage is not just about the future that we hope for, it’s also grounded in the now. The home of God is among the mortals. God is with us, comforting us and crying with us. That new heaven we hope for isn’t just far off, but is here right now as God listens to our crying out. The new heaven is in the midst of the death, suffering, and inequity of the world. In the midst of our grief, we can experience wholeness and peace.

A couple months ago, my close friend’s mother died. She was like another mom to me. I spent the week leading up to her funeral with my friend and her family. I found this to be such a holy time filled with glimpses of this messy new heaven I just mentioned. While crying, we were also laughing remembering hilarious stories of her mom. That week, we cooked pancakes, we danced, we gave ourselves space to just be human and flow with the rhythm of grief.

Grief is more than the moments after a death, and it’s hard to allow space to grieve. Revelation 21 can help us flow with grief’s rhythm, even in the brief moment of now.

God, thank you for carrying our grief. Help us move its rhythm as we need, and as we hope for your new heaven here. Amen.

Written by Abbi Heimach-Snipes, Pastoral Resident

Devotion index by date | Id like to receive daily devotions by email