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Thursday 22 August 2019 – Renewing Creation

Revelation 21:1  Then 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. 2  And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4  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.” 5  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.” 6  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. 7  Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8  But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

It is in our bones to wish for a world where things are better. And so we resonate with the longing of Revelation for  “a new heaven and a new earth”, where “death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more

So here is my question: “Why does God put us through all this?” Why not just create us in the new heaven and the new earth… why the hardship / the sadness / the suffering / the death…. and then the new heaven and earth?

The short answer is that I really do not know….and I find it frustrating. The fact is that life is difficult, and it is difficult for everyone: rich and poor alike. So let me offer an opinion, and an invitation:

Here is My Opinion:

I am convinced that life here on earth is part of God’s purpose. This is the preparation for eternal life with God. When we die we will not sit on clouds playing harps – we have work to do in the next life. And this life prepares us for it. This life is the “university for eternity”.  We have lessons to learn, and most of them are best learned in times of difficulty and struggle.

The Invitation:

To use every moment of life to the full:

  • Do not waste opportunities to learn as much as possible
  • Do not waste opportunities to put back into life.

Rev 21:5  And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.”

This is not a future promise – this is the present reality: God’s renewal has already begun. And we can either miss the opportunity or be part of it. The essence of the invitation is to open our eyes and discover the new creation of God – within us, and in the relationships around us.

Rev 21:6  Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”

Creation is not over until God says so!

 

Ordinary 17

39 God, Our Source of Hope

The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 243.

This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)