Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne say, ‘Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ Then the one seated on the throne said, ‘Look! I’m making all things new.’
Revelation 21:1-5 (CEB)
This journey began with God’s spirit moving in the midst of chaos. Out of that chaos, disorder, and darkness God created. Soon the beautiful creation of God became broken due to our turning away. Since then God has been after the created order, after humanity, to restore us and all the created order to God’s original intention.
The beginning of the story becomes the end. Out of the brokenness of sin and death comes a new creation. This is no disembodied life. It is heaven come down, God come down, new earth, new body, renewed creation!
Many times along this journey I have been tempted to stop. Life has happened, plans have changed, surprises have come along the way. I am thankful that I did not stop. For at each turn of the journey this old story became my story and the story of God’s people.
Reading the bible always reminds me that it is a living story. We are Adam and Eve, we are Abraham and Sarah, we are Deborah and Gideon, we are Ruth and Boaz, we are Mary and Joseph, we are Paul and Phoebe. You get my drift, this ancient story is our story.
So now in Christ we have been empowered to be agents of restoration for all of creation. We were the ones that messed it up, we chose to turn away. Now we can choose to accept God’s grace and begin to live again in proper relationship with God and the created order.
New life can indeed begin today! This is not just a vision for some end time event. This is no vision of some kind of higher place. This is a vision of a God who comes down, just like God did in Jesus, and makes all things new again, reminding us, all of us, that we were God’s own beloved creation from the very beginning.
I am thankful for this biblical vision. I am thankful that I went on this journey. I am thankful that the Spirit was with me along the way. I pray that I can live into the vision of those who collected these stories, I join them in their cry, Come, Lord Jesus!
Come in me, come in strangers along the way, come in the creation that you have given us, come in the community of faith, come in spilled waters, come in poured wine and broken bread, come and make new!
There are so many that I would like to thank for being faithful companions along this journey.
I’m especially thankful to my readers, especially those that subscribe to this blog. I’m sure that at some point in this journey you were ready to stop receiving daily e-mails. Thank you for subscribing and thank you for reading.
I want to thank many of my clergy colleagues who cheered me on during this journey, my brother Josh Hale, colleague and sister Katie McKay-Simpson and her husband Taylor, Matt Rawle, and Taylor Burton Edwards.
A special thanks to Todd Rossnagel whose beautiful pictures adorned most of my blog post during this series. I was amazed at how perfect his pictures were to the post for the day.
Last but not least I want to thank my life partner and spouse Shannon Huertas who cheered me on, gave me the time, and read many of the post before publishing. She continues to inspire me to become the best person I can be!
Some have asked me, What now? Well Shannon and I have committed to reading through the bible together, this time in 180 days. I won’t be blogging about it (maybe sometimes) but we will be sharing what the Spirit is telling us over coffee every day.