Sunday’s Scripture ~ Revelation 22:1-6
I can’t believe it! Our 12-week series Alpha, Omega, and Everything In Between: The Bible in 12 Themes has come to an end. And what a trip we have shared. We have one more installation this week – New Creation. Next week is Laity Sunday at Reeves and then the first week of October I’ll kick off a new series. It will be…uhh…interesting. So you’ll want to make sure you stick around.
Y’all come back now, ya hear! (Polk County Moment of the day)
But first things first! New Creation! Huzzah!
I can’t help but think of social justice when I think of God’s New Creation. When I reflect on present creation I do so with a spiritual gaze that I received upon welcoming Christ as the Lord of my life. In welcoming Christ as my Savior I was reborn in him and given spiritual senses that help me see and interpret the world in the mind and manner of Christ.
This gift isn’t just for me. I don’t have a monopoly on it. Everyone who has Christ as the Lord of his or her life shares in these spiritual senses. Our challenge – not a burden but a time of discovery – is to learn how to use them to the fullest!
When I gaze upon creation with my spiritual senses I can identify the good that persists in creation – friend helping friend, peaceful negotiations rather than arguments with guns, feeding the hungry, access to healthcare and fresh water, companionship, care for the earth, and so much more. But I also see where creation continues to ache…where our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, neighbors continue to cry out, “Where were you when I was hungry, thirsty, naked, alone, sick and in prison?” Where were you?
Where was I?
When I think of the New Creation I imagine a place where we will no longer have to ask one another “where were you?” Because we will all be there. We will all have shown up. We will all have loved and served and accompanied and healed and reconciled.
I crave this New Creation in the present. And the awesome thing about God is that we can help God bring it about right now. Yes! Right now!
The writers of The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary agree that the New Creation – this New Jerusalem – is a city coming to us from heaven, “but humans can be the means of channeling God’s grace into it…Human agents infused with the Spirit of the new creation may contribute to that future reign of God here and now in the midst of the debris of the old world” (NIB: Revelation, 729). I love that. In the midst of the debris, the ashes, a fractured people living in a broken world can rise up in God’s Spirit, be made new, and partner with God in making all things new!
What an incredible opportunity!!!
Theologian N.T. Wright says that the Kingdom of God – this New Creation/New Jerusalem/heaven on earth/eternity – comes and will come “as the church, energized by the Spirit, goes out into the world vulnerable, suffering, praising, praying, misunderstood, misjudged, vindicated, celebrating: always – as Paul puts it in one of his letters – bearing in the body the dying of Christ so that the life of Jesus may also be displayed” (Surprised By Hope 112).
God’s New Creation is coming. And we can help it get here.
Reflection: Think of a time in your life where someone or some portion of Christ’s Body asked “Where were you when I was hungry, thirsty, naked, alone, sick and in prison?” If you weren’t with them, where were you? Was that place or activity helping you bring about the New Creation? How will you be mindful now in how you spend your time so that your actions partner with God in bringing about the New Creation?