In today’s scripture lesson we have the start of John’s ultimate depiction of what is still to come. First there was a great and cataclysmic battle engaging rulers of this world and the spiritual powers. This was followed closely by the fall of the Great City, Babylon. And now, in the final scene of John’s vision comes the appearance of a new heaven and new earth, and a Heavenly City—the new Jerusalem—coming down out of heaven from God. Of course no human imagination can truly perceive these things, nor can any human language adequately express them. Nonetheless, the author uses his vivid imagery as metaphors to point our hearts in the direction of God.
For in the end, God is what remains. God’s own self becomes our tabernacle or dwelling place. God is not depicted as a furnishing of heaven, or as a separate entity who brings about an end. For John of Patmos, God is the end and completion of all. We are tempted at times to ask “when the world in which we live has been been fully, rightly judged by God, what will be left? What can withstand? What shall remain? What will be different and what will we recognize?” John’s clear and dramatic response is to say, simply, “in the end…God.”
This week we continue our Eastertide sermon series, “Still to Come.” Drawing on images from the Book of Revelation, this series invites the church to rise above its present day challenges and circumstances, and live as citizens of heaven, embracing God’s final vision of justice and righteousness.