Revelation 21 begins with the powerful statement that we need a new world; the old world is unable to embrace what God has for us next.
Sometimes we can repair broken things. But there can come a time when something broken is too far gone and we must begin again.
Years ago, my daily walk took me past an empty and untended house. I would stop to look at the old house that leaned precariously to the west with an unsure foundation, busted windows, and dilapidated roof.
The former owners had died, leaving the house to feuding relatives who could never agree on selling or repairing the structure. Year after year it deteriorated. By the time I moved to the area, it was beyond renovation and seemed to be begging for something new to arise. Years later, I returned to the westward leaning home to find that the rotting house was gone—replaced by a beautiful new building brimming with the love and laughter of a family.
John’s Revelation offers us an image of a time when God might look upon our humble planet and say that it is time for something new and perfect.
Our world may reach that point, a point of no return. Used up and worn out. The good news is that the One who set all of this in motion has the power to bring a new world where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (niv).
Creator of all things new, teach me to celebrate the good in my world while I look forward to your new world where there is no pain or loss. Amen.
Change can be difficult. It is easy to get comfortable with what is familiar. In Acts, some in Jerusalem criticize Peter for having fellowship with the Gentiles. Peter explains that his actions are not his own idea but are inspired by a vision from God. This change leads to the spread of the gospel. Revelation speaks of a new heaven and a new earth. God cares for the earth that God created, but at the end of time everything will be changed and made better. Jesus tells his disciples in John a new commandment, namely that they should love one another. This is how others will know that they are truly Jesus’ disciples. Psalm 148 is not about change but is pure praise for the works of the Lord.
Read Acts 11:1-18. God calls Peter to initiate change. How do you respond to changes in your church’s culture? How do you discern what changes are from God?
Read Psalm 148. The next time you sing, focus on praising God and sharing God’s love through your words and melody.
Read Revelation 21:1-6. How do you live a full life in the waiting for the new heaven and new earth?
Read John 13:31-35. In the wake of betrayal, Jesus calls his followers to sacrificial love. When have you needed to heed the call to this type of love?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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