“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.
He will dwell with them;
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.”
–Revelation 21: 1-6
If you’ve ever encountered the highly popular leadership book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” you will know that one habit is to begin with the end in mind. I know this because those 7 habits are plastered all over my kids’ school and I see them every time I go in there. I also know that this should also be a rule for those of us who follow Jesus Christ. Start with the end in mind.
These days it seems like we have so much anxiety. We worry about all manner of troubles inside and outside the Church. And these worries matter, they mean something. They are real. But their reality should not give them undue power in our lives. That is why it is always good for us to pause from time to time and think about where we are headed. First let me tell you where we are not headed. We are not headed off a cliff. We are not headed for annihilation. We are not headed for perpetual misery, suffering and torment. We are, rather, headed for a very special day.
That day is richly described by John in his Revelation. And that day is the day when all things will be made new, when the old heaven and the old earth will pass away, to be replaced by a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem. Then there will be an end to death, suffering, torment and fear. The theologian N.T. Wright reckons it will be the perfect fulfillment of Sabbath time. You can ponder that nugget for awhile. In the interim, remember that today, in the midst of your worries and anxieties, know that they will not have the final word over you or this world. That Word belongs to God, and it was spoken long ago.
Prayer: Holy God, we thank you for the promises we have received in Jesus Christ and we ask today that those promises be sealed upon our hearts. May we remember the truth that this world exists in the palm of your hands, and today help us to be faithful and ardent followers of Jesus Christ. It is in his name that we pray, Amen.