URC Daily Devotion Saturday 25th November 2023

Saturday 25th November 2023
Heaven 6
 
Revelation 21.3–4

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them as their God;
they will be his peoples, 
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’

Reflection

The last two chapters of Scripture bring us the fullest vision of the heaven that awaits. It is a remarkable vision – a city of light with gates and walls covered in precious jewels, with the river of life flowing and the tree of life growing within it. In that city dwells not only the people of God, but God himself. 

What is remarkable is not simply the idea of a wonderful place. What is remarkable is also the promise that in that place, God will wipe every tear from our eyes, and that there will be no more death, no more mourning, or crying, or pain – all this will have passed away. 

A place without pain and sorrow is hard to imagine. Yet this is the promise of eternal life that is held out to us – a truly blessed life in paradise. 

And just this is what makes so many people so suspicious and sceptical about heaven. It seems to stand for a world that we cannot see or visit, but that has everything that we could ever want. Jeffrey Burton Russell notes that this idea of ‘the saccharine pie in the sky’ has become an object of ridicule today. 

Even Christians find it hard to believe.

Yet the consistent message of Scripture is that this is our destiny, that we are called towards this new creation in which there is a new heaven and a new earth, in which God dwells with us, in which there will be no more suffering. 

Indeed this is the very purpose of creation and of humanity, to be with God, in peace, for ever. 

This is a majestic, overwhelming vision. Without it, our faith lacks direction. But with it, knowing the reality of heaven, comes a power: not only to console us regarding the future, but also to inspire us in the present. Let us grasp that vision in our daily lives.

Prayer

Gracious God, 

You have set before us a wonderful vision of the new heaven and the new earth, the transformation of all things under your power at the end of days. 

Help us to lift our hearts to this glorious revelation, to give us the hope that we need in the difficult days of this life and the power to comfort us regarding its end. 

May we know the consolation and inspiration of heaven in all that we do. 

Amen.

 

Today’s writer

Professor Paul Nimmo, University of Aberdeen

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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