Monday, 22 April 2013

New Earth, Heavens New.

Lectionary Readings for April 28. Acts 11:1-8, Ps. 148, Rev. 21:1-16, John 13:31-35
Donita Wiebe-Neufeld

This week, I read the lectionary passages through the lens of preparing for a funeral. Sitting with a grieving family, hearing their stories, and praying can be an experience of walking on holy ground together. The reality of death has a profound way of refocusing priorities, making relationships come into clearer focus and pushing us to call on God. It's a strange time, almost surreal, where all sorts of emotions, beliefs, questions, comforts, and agonies intertwine. We grapple with our faith, our hopes, our fears, our connections to the people we love. We are open to God and painfully vulnerable at times.

John 13:34-35 "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." Our church community responds to crisis, like the one this week, in so many ways. The public support and organization that goes into preparing a meaningful service, the private phone calls and visits, the provision of food and comfort. It is a great witness to who Jesus is when we come together and act out of love. At times like this the church is invaluable. I wonder how people manage without this kind of community support, this kind of hope that God is present in us, around us, and waiting for us.

In Revelation 21, John describes a vision of a new earth and heavens where God wipes away our tears and there will be no more death or crying or pain. An incredible vision of hope. It is assurance that this bit of life we experience is not all there is. A timely and encouraging piece of scripture to read today.

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