Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5 (NRSV)
Verse 10And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. Verse 22I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. Verse 23And 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. Verse 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Verse 25Its gates will never be shut by day-and there will be no night there. Verse 26People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. Verse 27But 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.
Chapter 22Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb Verse 2through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Verse 3Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; Verse 4they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Verse 5And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
As I write this, we are at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Our eldest son is having heart bypass surgery. Being here is a surreal, wondrous experience in which we see a host of people and machines focused on healing. This is a good paradigm for understanding the perspective of Revelation. Similarly, in Nigeria, I remember attending a celebratory church launching with much hoopla. Off on the sideline were children playing with ants, oblivious to all else. We are those children content with our little world and missing the greater picture of God.
John of Revelation is carried to the glorious scenes of God’s realm. Here he sees God’s city descend to earth. There God and Christ are being hospitable and transparent as they provide for all needs (water, trees, and fruit) and fantastic worship occurs. What a vision beyond our little world! Beyond daily life with its valleys of death is God’s reality, where God works to heal us and all nations. Now this surreal world of God inspires hope from its awesome goodness.
Gracious God, your surreal realm of love and healing is astounding. Please come, Holy Spirit, and inspire us to live from your reality in our little worlds. Amen.