Today's Lectionary Text
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
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 without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
The book of Revelation contains a lot of symbolism and imagery which can be confusing. However, some themes are fairly universal and two such themes are found in today’s reading.
The first theme is that our Sovereign has declared, “I am making everything new!” That is an exciting idea! Living in northern Nebraska, we have some chilly winter weather. The trees are stark, grey and leafless except for the evergreens and their darker hues. Skies too turn grey and often cold winds or snow are blowing across the landscape.
We look forward to the change of season when new life springs forth. In fact, that season is now upon us with bright green grass, buds on trees, flowers, crops beginning to grow. It’s like the world is becoming new! When Christ returns it will be like this. The world which all too often seems cold and grey will spring forth with new life, vital and vibrant. The old order of death, disease, pain and injustice will be gone. It’s this promise of new life, this hope for a bright future that gets me through some of the greyest of times.
The second theme is that our God will give us the water of life, will become our God and we will be God’s children. This river amidst new life reflects Eden, God’s perfect creation and home for us who are made in God’s image. As we seek a deeper relationship with God, God rejuvenates us, renews us, and joins with us in the most powerful and loving relationship we will ever experience. The closest equivalent on Earth is family. But our relationship with God and one another, God’s love for us and our love for God and each other will far transcend the love we share with our earthly family even as the bright greens of Spring transcend the evergreens of winter.
What an awesome hope! What a wonderful promise! How great is our God!
Prayer for Reflection
Creator of all, Bringer of new life, we look forward to that day when you will set all things right and make all things new. Even now we ask you warm our hearts which easily grow cold, embolden our souls which too often tremble in fear and enflame our love for you and others, that our lives and theirs may be transformed with new life and a new relationship with you; through Jesus who gave his life that we may have life. Amen.
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