Revelation 21:1-6 I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
"See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them as their God;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away."
And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." Then 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 as a gift from the spring of the water of life."
Reflection Screaming from an enormous flat screen TV were images of a firefight and a paralyzed Watertown, Massachusetts. I passed by quickly as I was leaving a skilled nursing facility where I had just visited a dying woman. All this on the heals of the Marathon bombing. I could not get to the parking lot fast enough. I sat in my hot car and let the tears have their way.
Tears are grief’s companion. They tug at the pit of emptiness. They seep into the places where words fail and sense is stunned. Tears and questions, that’s all I had. Where is God in all this darkness? When will the new heaven and new earth be realized? And what does that mean anyway?
I believe the essence of the age to come, the new heaven and new earth, is this. Every person realizes that God is with her or him, no matter what. And, every person recognizes God’s caring and comforting presence in “the other.” There is no one with whom God is not. When we all truly realize this we will have no need to kill one another.
As I read the apostle John’s description of his vision I can almost hear Martin Luther King’s deep gravelly voice proclaiming,”The home of God is with you. Nothing... I say....nothing can seperate you from God. I can seeeeee the new Church. I can seeeee the new Church and it is you. You, the people of God. And I hear a loud voice from heaven saying, “Know me, know me the way the bride and the bridegroom know one another. Know that we are one. Know that no thing, no darkness, no bombings, no firefights, no evil, nothing can seperate you from me in all eternity. You are my people. In you I live and dwell, I Am. It is done.”
This is a mighty truth. The troubles of this time will pass away when we enter the bridal chamber, when we consent to our mystical union in God. God is our intimate companion, partner, beloved. And it is God, the bridegroom, who will wipe away our every tear. “These words are trustworthy and true.”