Scripture: Revelation 7:9-17
Key verses: (16-17) They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Reflection: My husband and I were on an airplane flying to visit family for a holiday. He was seated beside an unaccompanied girl who was on her first flight ever, flying from the home of one parent to spend the holiday with the other parent in the agreements of custody after a divorce. When the plane rose into the air and broke through the cloud cover, she looked out the window and turned to my husband and said “Is this heaven?” He is a wise man and responded “I’ve never been to heaven before.”
Is this heaven? What will heaven be like? The biblical writers describe heaven, trying to convey good news with images from their own contexts. John wrote Revelation, describing the kingdom as a great multitude of people from every nation, every tribe, and every language gathered before the throne of God. John echoes the language of Isaiah 49:10, “they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them down, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by spring of water will guide them.” For people accustomed to living in a hot dry wilderness, this is wonderful news!
We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives now. Revelation offers a vision of that truth, with Christ on the throne in the center of the kingdom. The diversity of God’s people gathered together in worship and God provides for all of them to have what they need. John’s vision of the kingdom might give us some clues for how we can live as kingdom citizens today – honoring Christ as Lord, welcoming a diversity of God’s children, and providing for everyone to have what they need. This is wonderful news!
Prayer: O God, by dying, our Lord Jesus Christ conquered death; by rising from the grave he restored us to life. Enable us to go forward in faith to meet him, that, when our life on earth is ended, we may be united with all who love him in your heavenly kingdom, where very tear will be wiped away. Amen.
(prayer adapted from the PCUSA Book of Common Worship, p. 944)
Author: Millie Snyder
[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].