Thursday, April 25, 2013

"I make all things new!"

Read Revelation 21:1-5

It happens to all of us: to want to start over again, to wipe the slate clean, to have a second chance. A relationship was broken, a project didn’t succeed, some opportunity passed us by, and there we are, torn by the regret for what could have been and the wish we could try again.

Isn’t this what lies behind all those resolutions we’ve made along the road of life? Whether it be on New Year’s Day or on a birthday, whether it be when a promotion came along or we met someone new, we promised ourselves that everything would be fresh and new, everything would be different, this time.

Not that we want to erase all of our past, or all of ourselves. We are all gifted one way or another. We all cherish some moments of our histories, some aspects of our lives. But we also realize that the inherent limitations in our beings and in our world are like an albatross around the neck, dragging us down and tearing us up. We can’t become all we’d like to be, all we’re meant to be.

In the dream that Saint John shares in the Book of Revelation, the sea is a symbol of all that drags us down, whether within us in our personalities or outside of us in the world. The sea is what we can’t control, the unfortunate happenstance, the negative energy of chaos.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth,” says Saint John, “and there was no more sea.” Imagine a world from which all these negative forces are banished, a universe where I can truly become myself, where my talents, my virtues and my abilities can freely flourish. Imagine a world where each person can become everything he or she is meant to be, where beauty, truth and freedom can really blossom.

This is the world, says Saint John, that is being birthed in our midst under the care of the Holy Spirit. This is the world that flourishes beyond death. This is the world in which God “makes all things new,” a world where death no longer reigns.

To believe in God is to believe in the possibility of such a world. To believe in this possibility is to strive to build it here and now, in us and among us. Faith opens up for us unimagined possibilities. The first step is simply to believe.

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