Holy City

6 Easter

Acts 16:9-15Ps. 67Rev. 21:10, 22–22:5John 14:23-29 or John 5:1-9

Higher than the peak of the great mountain, a city appears, coming down from heaven (Rev. 21:10). There is no temple, for “they will see his face and his name will be on their forehead” (Rev. 22:4). There is no sun or moon; “the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23). There is no hyper-nationalism; “the nations will walk in its light” (Rev. 21:24). There is nothing of treasure or culture that is not shared for the good of all; “the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. … People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations” (Rev. 21:24,26); There is no poison in the water; “the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal” (Rev. 22:1). Food is free and plentiful; “On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month” (Rev. 22:2). Health care is not affordable because it is unnecessary; “the leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:2).

This is the Lord’s doing. “His face shines upon us” (Ps. 67:1). God’s will is done on earth as in heaven; “your ways may be known to us” (Ps. 67:2). The people of the world live in equity and the earth yields its increase. All this, the Lord’s doing, is visible only to the eyes of faith, the persistence of hope, and the yearning of love. Do we want this? Do we want to be made well (John 5:6)?

In the end, whether we want or do not want, God will do what he will do. In the meantime, however, God wants us to see a vision worth living for, wants us to love what he commands because it is only for our good. “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them” (John 14:23). The Father and the Son and the Spirit making a home in the heart of each person and in the shared life of persons is God staking a divine claim, setting up a kingdom in miniature, which will come in its finality at a time we cannot know. Waiting, we have a measure of the mystery we await. The peace of Christ is here (John 14:27). Jesus says, “I am coming to you” (John 14:28). Do we want Jesus here, in his love and peace and justice and power?

Perhaps we do not. Consider the news and entertainment and how often they are nearly the same. Intense excitement, danger, thrills, attacks, explosions, suspense, vitriol, betrayal, murder, war, and fear in all its forms get the blood going and the money flowing. Virtue often is slow and methodic, calm and repetitive. Consider: Bless the Lord, pluck the fruit, drink from the living river, rub the leaves on your dry skin, watch and love the people with their honor and glory, bask in living light, be at peace, keep the word, walk humbly. Where is the thrill, that is, where is the cheap thrill?

The Lord opened the heart of a woman named Lydia. She and her household were baptized, and she said to Paul, “Come and stay at my home” (Acts 16:15). No doubt, a holy city was being built, though secretly, when “she prevailed upon us.” She and her household, Paul and his companions, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are together one home, one city, world without end.

Look It Up: Read John 14:27 and Acts 16:14.

Think About It: Together they say, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Let them be opened.”


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