I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away with the triumph of the lamb,
the resurrection of the one who was sacrificed, the one who defeated death.
The former heaven and earth has passed away, and the sea is no more.
No longer are we to be carried up and away from here to this new heaven and earth, but the holy city, the new Jerusalem, is coming down to us, becoming the holiness within us, the holiness around the corner and just within reach.
The new Jerusalem is coming and it is here, now.
The new Jerusalem, the new city of God,
is where God gathers humans;
the new heaven and earth are one.
This city where we stand, where we live, work and gather, is where God
dwells with us.
I knew the first heaven and first earth were passing away and I heard a loud voice saying:
Every life is precious and every life is a sacred gift from God to the world where God dwells.”
Every criminal life, every incarcerated life,
every immigrant life, every Muslim life,
each undocumented non-English-speaking life,
every young black man’s life,
each gender non-conforming life, every single poor woman’s life,
every uneducated, un-housed, unwashed life.
The home of God is among us; every life is precious.
The home of God is among mortals. God tabernacles with us.
God’s most holy self is with us in this city and in the new Jerusalem that is now and in the time to come, here in our tabernacle or on this altar and in all of the most unholy places.
The Holy City is the house of God within us, within every neighborhood:
the neighborhood of our hearts and our communities.
The home of God is among mortals.
For us to recognize God in our midst is for us to love one another as God has loved us.
For us to love one another as God loves us is to slay the
many-headed beast of jealousy, fear, pride and self-aggrandizement, to fall down ourselves before the throne of the lamb who calls us into community with one another,
with those who betray us,
those who deny the divinity within us,
those whom we hurt and betray and deny.
God comes down to us and dwells among us and by our love we become followers of the Way and citizens of the God’s Kingdom.
I heard a voice saying: Every time you share food with Gentiles
(by which I heard the voice to mean people who are strange, people who are outside of my beliefs or practices)
Every time you share food you are being Christ and welcoming
You who have denied Christ three times,
you who misunderstood at least three times Christ’s command to feed his lambs,
you who need to hear at least three times to eat or pray, or play
to you deniers and uncomprehending lovers of Christ (you and me)
all is not lost.
God is present, at home among us. Among us God spreads a picnic of strange and surprising food for us to share with one another.
I saw revealed a new heaven and a new earth where God dwelt as our God and we as God’s people.
I saw God’s people weeping because our mortal world is polluted with poverty, oppression, and loneliness.
I saw God’s people rejected and outcast, some without food or
companionship, without housing or healthcare, God’s people as
mortal as they come, living in tents under bridges and alongside freeways.
And I saw revealed the tabernacle of God who has destroyed death,
God who stems their weeping and wipes away every tear.
I saw revealed a new heaven and earth and heard a loud voice saying:
Death will be no more.
Death surrounds us: death of the body by disease, violence, accidents, natural disasters, death of the spirit by humans denying humans and yet God comes, God is coming, God is here to dwell among us to defeat death.
I heard a loud voice saying: God will be with you as you combat death and combat hopelessness through simple acts of mercy and companionship.
Mourning and crying and pain will be no more, even for every precious life with more than its share of grief, pain, disappointment, bullying, disenfranchisement, exclusion; God carries all that pain and grief into the Heavenly City and makes it new.
At the foot of the throne I heard a voice saying: look and listen for life, life that is everywhere.
I saw life in bright green algae in a pond in the middle of the woods, life new every day.
I saw life on the bottom of a check at a breakfast spot in a small town in the middle of nowhere. It said: “Immigrants make America great; immigrants cooked your breakfast today.”
I saw life in the prayers of a woman living on the street and praying for her friend who has a broken heart.
I saw life in the story of a sixty-five-year-old given free tuition, room and board at Georgetown University whose Jesuit founders sold her ancestors from slavery into slavery to pay for their campus.
I saw God wonderfully restoring humans to the dignity God planted in I us, at creation, at this very moment, and for eternity.
I heard the one seated at the throne saying “See, I am making all things new.” I am not making all new things; I am making all things new.
I am making new the work of my people and the hope of my people.
Even as the earth is passing away, I am renewing the earth.
Even as the earth suffers at the hands of mortals I send out my spirit to renew the face of the earth.
Even as the earth is passing away, I saw a garden in the middle of the city, a patch of new earth in a parking lot tended by descendants of the first gardeners, planting herbs and green plants of all kinds, because the one seated on the throne makes all things new.
All things new means restoring and repairing creation, restoring and repairing humanity.
And the one seated on the throne said: I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water from the spring of the water of life. To the hungry I will give the bread of life to all the peoples of the earth. Come and drink. Come and eat.