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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, May 21, 2019              

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

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. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. (NRSV)

Picking up on language used towards the tail end of the prophet Isaiah’s book, the author of Revelation sees a vision of a second creation in which God “is making all things new,” one in which “God lives among mortals,” and “death, mourning, crying, and pain will be no more.” While obviously this vision is oriented to the future, it is fascinating to note that God making all things new appears in the present, active tense in the Greek text. This is not some distant vision but something that is currently taking place and is ongoing all around us. That the kingdom is “here, but not yet” is an idea that extends back into the Gospels and seems to be part of the promise of our post-Pentecost world: we are each a part of bringing the kingdom into being through the help of God’s Spirit.

We often assume that Revelation’s promises of a better future are out of our hands—and, ultimately, they are. But as we move through this Eastertide season towards the Day of Pentecost, we should remember that God has called us—all of us—to play a part in building that new future, until God’s kingdom fully comes. May we, in the words of Frederick Buechner, find those places where “our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet,” so that we might be a part of this world’s transformation. Even as we look out at a world filled with mourning, crying, and pain, may we trust that God is making all things new—and may we work through the hope of that promise.

Dear God, thank you for the trust that you have placed in me to be your servant in this world. Help me show your love through the power of your Spirit, in order that I might be a part of making this world anew. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Associate Pastor for Children and Family Ministry

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