Scripture: Rev. 21:9-21
Key verse: (10-11) 10″And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. 11It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal.”
Reflection: Revelation’s glorious vision of a new heaven and a new earth renews hope for our future. We need a new Jerusalem. We need the trees of life and a healing for the nations. These glimpses of a renewed earth can inspire and motivate us. We need this vision that paints the picture of a multicultural welcome. At a time when death and destruction are all around us, we need a reminder of our hope in God.
This week, when our fear compels us to secure ourselves against outsiders, the church can claim Revelation’s vision of openness. This vision is hard work and despair cannot be the last word. We have to trust that God is at work renewing and redeeming creation and join God in the work of redemption.
If the city represents the people of God, then we are the new Jerusalem. We are the kingdom of God. That does not mean we sit by in fear. We have to join God in this work as agents of change that refuse to settle for a choice between the bad and the worst. Here John invites us to explore ways to understand our reign not as domination over, but as sharing in God’s healing of the world.
Prayer: (This prayer was printed in the Presbyterian Outlook this weekend after the attacks in Paris, written by Jill Duffield.)
How long, O Lord?
How long until we see in each other your image and respond with joy rather than fear?
How long until we understand the depth of your love for all of creation and allow that love to overflow into our every thought and action?
How long until religion unites instead of divides?
How long until we live out of your promised abundance rather than being anxious of scarcity?
How long until our urges to follow you in the ways of peace and justice and mercy and loving kindness are heeded instead of suppressed?
O, Lord, help us. Make of us salt and light. Make us courageous peacemakers. As we look for the helpers make us the helpers others look to for hope. Do not let us bow our heads in despair without then looking out into a hurting world and entering it to share the love of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Hear us as we pray for people all over the world who are the victims of violence, war, terror and hate.
May our shock and pain be turned into actions that help to heal.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].