“I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day– and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:22-27 NRS).
My weekly Bible Study just finished our journey through the Book of Revelation together. It is not an easy read, and comes with all kinds of preconceived notions, but it was worth it. Besides the bonding that occurs when you read the Bible in community, most people fail to discover the rich promise at the conclusion of Revelation. There is this beautiful passage in Chapter 21 that gives us a glimpse into the Kingdom of God, the New Jerusalem come down from heaven where God reigns eternally. It is powerful and fulled to the brim with hope for the faithful. The description includes the above passage telling that there will not be a Temple (or church) to worship the Lord, for God will be with us and among us, so we will not need to go someone to be in God’s presence. There will be no sun or moon to illuminate the day and the night, because the presence of God will shine forth and radiate the light of Christ so that the city of God will burst with it. Imagine a place where God’s presence is so full, so tangible that there is no need for light. A time and place where the presence of God drowns out the night itself.
Now imagine that there are those alive right at this very moment who do not understand what a treasure, a blessing that would be. They do not know the Lord. It is not that they are evil people, but they sin without understanding the consequences. They have no relationship with God, and so they cannot understand what they are missing. We who do know, we who yearn to be in this depiction of heaven God promises, have a responsibility to make the connections that will allow them to receive the open invitation for the grace that makes both the relationship and the heavenly reward possible. Evangelism is not just a pretty concept. It is vital, or there will be those who cannot enter in. If you do not love God, then you are not going to want to spend eternity in the presence of that same God, being inundated with God’s light. Yet I trust that those who open themselves to even the possibility of that love cannot deny it. God’s love for us is overpowering, and our deepest, natural response is to embrace it, allow ourselves to become enveloped in it. Take a moment to pause and consider who it is that you love that might not find themselves in that sacred promised place. What can you do right now to change the course of that trajectory? How can you make space for them to discover the richness and abundance of God’s love, accept God’s grace, and start the spiritual journey that culminates in the Kingdom of God? We all have someone about whom we can and should be concerned. Are we willing to do something about it? Even if they might get angry at us? Even if it might strain our relationship for a time being? Are they not worth it? I think we know what Christ would say. Now we just have to live that out.
Your grace has changed my life by changing me.
Help me to bring those whom I love to this state of grace.
I want us all to be together when your Kingdom comes.
I do not want anyone to be shut out,
Much less because of my lack of witness.
Do not let my lips be silent.
Do not allow my hands to be still.
Motivate me when I freeze up.
Let your words become mine,
And your love enter the world through me.
I entrust myself to you.
May I speak that truth until I have no voice.
May I live it out until I have no breath.
And may your lost lambs hear and return to you.