New Heaven?

Post date: Apr 2, 2013 2:45:02 PM

“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. 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.” ~ Revelation 21:1-2

New heaven, new earth, new city. That always surprises me when I hear it, and I have to confess, it gives me just a twinge of discomfort as well. I’m NOT a city girl, especially; I’m not sure I even like the city all that well. Yet, John tells us, that is precisely where God has chosen to make his home among mortals. In the city. Where babies are born, and the elderly die, and those in the middle ages work and worry and wonder. A new heaven and a new earth – and a new city, the place where you can find anything – business, art, sport, science and education, culture, music, industry – you will find all the things that make us human in the city. Compassion? Yes. Competition? Sure, you’ll find it there, as well as cooperation. New heaven, new earth – and a new city.

And why not? For some strange reason, this God of ours likes to be here with us, right in the thick of things. Born of a woman, raised in the faith, working with the people, Jesus spent his life in the heart of the city. He made his home among mortals: tall / short, male / female, gentile or Jew, free or slave – the good, the bad, and the ugly. And for some strange reason, he liked it here with us so much, not even death could keep him away. A lot of people who hear John’s vision latch on to the idea of the new heaven and the new earth, but pushed out to some time far in the future, and they completely miss the part about the city. If this kingdom Jesus talked about is as near as he kept saying it was, then the new city would be our city, where we live and move and breathe right now – our little city, made new, because the Spirit of God has come to make a home among mortals, not for a few years, but forever. Our city, Keokuk, made holy because God lives here, with us. Can you imagine that?

It still strikes me as strange that God wants to be with us - WE don't always want to be with us - but I can't shake the idea that maybe this kingdom thing is more than "some day, some where". If so, this could begin to sound like good news, really good news.