Reality: “It is easier to indulge in ecstasies than to engage in obedience,” writes Eugene Peterson. “It is easier to pursue a fascination with the supernatural than to enter into the service of God. And because it is easier, it happens more often.” Revelation is not meant to remove us from reality, but to plant us in its midst—equipped with a new vision for engaging with it.
Wholeness: John shows us what is deeply true, but not always obvious—that heaven is not remote, but immediate. As Jesus announced with his first coming, “The kingdom of God is at hand.” The realm of his rule has already invaded our world. “[Heaven] is the completion of what is, not an escape from it,” Peterson writes. “It is the wholeness of what we now see in part, not the repudiation of it.”
City: How do we know this? Because the new heaven and the new earth is a city. A careful reader of Genesis would not expect a city, but a garden—a restoration of what God originally intended, a calm and idyllic place of nature. Yet John is shown a city—a place where the raw material of God’s creation meets the innovation of his image-bearers, a place that is noisy and bustling.
Redeemed: Heaven, though, is not just a city; it is a redeemed city. It is “quarried out of the marble and granite of our self-will, our self assertion—all our brother-hating (Enoch), God-defying (Babel), God-rejecting (Jerusalem) cities.” But it is “a holy city living in harmony with God.” For at its center is the King of kings, who rightly orders all things.
Come: Therefore, when we see the reality of our cities today, we pray to see the reality of their fullness and redemption. We do not pray for an escape, but a sanctification. We pray that evil would be burned away and beauty would reign—even as we say, “Come, Lord Jesus!” and expect the unexpected.
Prayer: Lord, We confess that we often want to trivialize and tame you, making you a trifling thing. Yet the vision of Revelation does not let us do that. It shows a ferocious love, a violent salvation, a meal and a war. Therefore, give us discerning hearts that hate evil and love good, as we meditate on the Lamb who sits on the throne. Come, Lord Jesus! Come! Amen.
READER’S CHOICE: Do you have a favorite 843 Acres reflection? Now’s your chance to see it again! In August, we’ll feature your favorite devotionals, so we need 20! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with (a) your name – first names only and pseudonymns are okay, (b) 40-50 word bio including your city, (c) one of your favorite 843 Acres, and (d) 40-50 words about why you like it. We always love this time of year, when our online community takes on somewhat of a new face! Submissions due by July 1.
M’Cheyne Weekend Readings