Friday, February 15, 2008

And Glory Filled My Soul

It is clear to me that Jesus is coming back. To earth. A planet. With soil. With streets.

Although it started in the Garden, we were designed to choose life, to grow, to mature, to advance, to build. We were designed for community - for a City! And we were meant to commune and to advance and elevate within the girdle of natural, organic, beauty. We were charged as the earth's caretakers. We were charged with communion with God.

But we Fell.

Yet despite our blunder, our future remains here on earth. There is Hope of Restoration. And there remains One who can build that City.

It will come down out of the sky. Humanity -and nature- will be redeemed, and our Creator will come down to live with us.

Not up, but down.

We aren't going up and out off to a heaven in the clouds. God is coming down.

Valuing earthly experiences and yearning to travel the world is morally acceptable, and even slightly profitable. But all this will be here later. Life will be much like it is now after we die and return back here with Jesus.

But it will be perfected.

Do you enjoy sunsets and surfing and mountain climbing now? Wait until nature is restored and glorified! Do you wish you could drop by your friend's house and hang out for 10,000 years on your way out of town for a fishing trip, just because you got caught in a good conversation? Wait 'til you see what Life will be like when the kingdom of heaven is established! Do you want to see the Aurora Borealis, the Carlsbad Caverns, the Amazon, the South Pacific, Antarctica? That's all good and well, but how much more spectacular with these things be when the earth is perfected!

Living the good life in this era is much more about obedience to God's word and His Holy Spirit than it is about collecting intense experiences and tantalizing our five senses - especially if the drive to do so progressively undermines our drive to work hard in preparation for the kingdom.

Matthew 6:25-26:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Revelation 21:2-5; 15-27:
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man's measurement, which the angel was using. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

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