Friday, October 26, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

New Heaven and New Earth
Revelations 21:1-7
Then I saw "a new heaven and a new earth,for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea (Rev 21:1).
 Our passage for meditation is about John's vision of a new world. The book of Revelation is written in the context of persecution. Hence the images and languages are apocalyptic in nature. Let us meditate upon the significance of new heaven and new earth.
Firstly, there is no sea (v.1): John sees a whole new human environment where everything is made new and the sea is no more. For John, the sea is a realm of death. In 11:7 and 13:1, John was told of a beast coming of the sea. Now here, all the chaotic presence is annihilated. Moreover, he was imprisoned in a lonely island surrounded by waters which separates him from his companions or fellow Christians. Hence the sea is no more means the barrier is no more. Therefore fellowship and communication is reinstated.
Secondly, the vision proclaims "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them" (v.3). The language shifts from present to future tense. Therefore, John no longer stands at the scene of the last judgment, but back in his own time, on Patmos on the Lord's Day (as in 1:9-10). Its future-oriented language is the language of God's ancient covenant with the people of Israel. The Old Testament, especially Lev 26:11­-12, Ezek 37:26-27, Zech 2:11 gives the glimpse of this vision. Here the vision stands for new humanity.
This is not something God does only at the end of time, but something going on already in the present age. The divine self-identification, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, combined with a promise (or promises) emphases the authenticity of the vision. The message is relevant to the contemporary socio-cultural-political-religious milieu. The Church should discern the message and should live up to her conviction.
Dear Lord, help us discern your word faithfully and live according to our calling, Amen.
New heaven and new earth begins with our commitment to God.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church