Liz Swick of Charleston, West WV, USA
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. -Revelation 22:1-5
The author of Revelation describes God’s heavenly kingdom using lofty language to illustrate how beautiful the new age will be. It is not “pie in the sky by and by” but already upon us and transforming all for the reign of God. The pursuit of peace and hope should be upheld because of, not in spite of, what is to come. Until that time, in the words of Dr. Tony Chvala-Smith, “the churches are called to a life of patient endurance, which is made possible by Christ’s victory over death and the coming, final victory of God over evil.”1
There is much to hope for, as “God is continually making things new here and now,”2 and the current sufferings are comparable to growing pains that will form the new creation. We can be aids alleviating some of that pain through our Christian witness. The church is a balm to the suffering and an expression of Christ’s will to serve all, especially those in need.
The Resurrection is an invitation to identify with Jesus and to share in the victory of the Resurrection. Christ is infinitely victorious by God’s actions through him for us, and God is not done yet! That is certainly a revelation/revolution. This knowledge can completely change our attitudes and interactions. As we work on the “…perfecting of our spiritual vision here and now,” we might not always understand what we are “seeing” right away, but “as we make progress in the Christian life we gain greater capacity to know and understand God.”3
1Tony Chvala-Smith, New Testament II Lecture 7.1, paragraph 5.
2Bruce Manning Metzger, Breaking the Code: Understanding the Book of Revelation. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2006, 99.
“…all things in God and God in all things” (Mechthild of Magdeburg).
Reflecting on Presence
Breathe deeply and become present to the Presence with you here and now. Take a few moments in the silence to reflect prayerfully on the following questions:
Where have you been aware of God’s presence in your life?
What is God’s invitation to you in this story?
How do you desire to be more open to God’s presence and invitation tomorrow?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.