Reflecting on Rev. 21: 1-5a
A new heaven and a new earth. Oh, how we long for it. This long winter was made nearly unendurable by the terrible war that goes on and on, misery on top of misery. We look at the ruined cities, and the millions living far away from home and loved ones. This war is too much with us, and yet it seems that turning our eyes away is the coward’s way out. We force ourselves to see, to know, to pray.
But springtime, and Easter, were made especially joyful this year due to our parish’s delightful experience of helping re-settle a young, hopeful Afghan family, already learning English, and the bus lines, and the funny way we Americans do things. They will thrive, and succeed, and live happy lives here. And yet, we must force ourselves to know about, and to pray for, those left in Afghanistan, who are the victims of the Taliban, and of the last forty years of war.
When John wrote his Revelation, he was writing to seven communities of the infant Church. His great insight into what constituted the new heaven and earth was this: when the kingdom of God comes, God will bring heaven to earth, and God will reign. And where God is, there is no war, nor, as in Afghanistan, starvation left in its wake.
We long for a new earth, with millions of species finding their way back to life, and clean rivers, and oceans without plastic. All that and more was envisioned by John: winter replaced with eternal spring, and every tear we ever cried wiped away by God.
Does this vision have its time? The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!”
What is your own prayer for a new heaven and earth?