1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
I have a feeling that years after the COVID-19 virus is eradicated, we will still be thinking about time in terms of before or after the pandemic. I am just not convinced that we will be ridding ourselves of public mask-wearing, or of the plexiglass at the store counter anytime soon. And what will ever become of the traditional handshake or the friendly hug? To me, it has been hard and sad to lose the opportunity for social contact and connection this way. I feel especially saddened for children and the changes in social behavior that they may never fully understand. Our losses and challenges leave so many of us longing for the good ‘ole days before we even could have thought of them that way.
However, when I read John’s words here in Revelation, I am further reminded of changes that are a “new heaven and a new earth.” John’s words speak of the end of days, of our eternal rest in heaven with God. We all may long for a time when “death will be no more.” Whenever or however our lives transform to the next life, we want to be with God!
Yet John’s words also speak about changes around us in this life. Maybe the new world that Revelation speaks most about is our new life with Jesus that changes us from within. These changes in belief or circumstance mean we see a new way and can offer a new experience to someone else, even when things are so hard. This is a new life and a new way of being that witnesses to goodness and mercy for those who are/were lost without Jesus. Our challenge is to share the change that Jesus gives to us as a new way to live in this life.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
Life with Jesus saves us and transforms us. This transformation and change is not always easy. Just because we are changed by God does not mean that change is not very hard and sometimes leaves us feeling unhappy. This is particularly true of life since the pandemic. Yet, how do we share the change within us because of Jesus in this new world? How does Jesus change or challenge our perspectives even on difficult days?
Prayer: Eternal God, thank you for love and saving grace. You have changed me from within. This change challenges me to live this life as a new way of being that helps all others to know Jesus through me. Amen.