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"God, Creator and OWNER of the Earth" "God, Creator and OWNER of the Earth"

Be the Body of Christ
Be the Body of Christ
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"God, Creator and OWNER of the Earth"

Posted on Sat, Apr 30, 2016

Revelation 21:1-6

April 23, 2016

5th Sunday in Easter

 

Revelation 21:1-6

The New Heaven and the New Earth

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

‘See, the home of God is among mortals.

He will dwell with them;

they will be his peoples,

and God himself will be with them;

4 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.’

5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ 6 Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.

 

 

John 13:31-35

The New Commandment

31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have for one another.’

 

 

What kind of image comes to your mind when you hear the metaphor, “The Body of Christ?”

 

I hope you understand that “The Body of Christ” is the most basic and profound way of referring to the Church. And what is the church? It is not this beautiful building, the Body of Christ is far more beautiful than this building, it is you! The church is a group of believers working together according to the same Holy Spirit that unites them to follow and walk with Jesus (be disciples of Jesus). We gather to worship, which is essentially giving thanks for the grace and mercy we receive through the death and resurrection of Christ. Worship is our meager response for this unconditional grace fulfilled through the Cross of Christ. And according to the Great Commission, in order to make Christ known in the world we must do as Jesus did! We feed the hungry, Baptize and preach the Gospel, clothe the naked, do justice, teach the scriptures, visit the sick and the prisoner and so much more. That is the church, a people following Jesus gathered and inspired by the working of the Holy Spirit.

 

We are in the fifth Sunday in Easter and soon we will celebrate the Ascension of our risen Lord, and then the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Please look at our First Reading: Revelation 21:1-6, primarily:

 “See, the home of God is among mortals.

He will dwell with them;

they will be his peoples,

and God himself will be with them;

4 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.”

 

This is a poem or a song of celebration. Many people only think of the book of Revelation about far off ‘end times;’ but scholars are questioning much of this… many think that John’s revelation is about events that have already happened. I want you to think about Jesus Ascension, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and the reality of the Trinity.

 

The “New Jerusalem” is not the beautiful city in Palestine, the New Jerusalem is not defined by a boarder defined by nations, it is defined as the God’s people of faith living within and in worship of God.

 

To the great consternation of some Bible scholars in the Jewish as well as the Christian world, when the “country” of Israel was created in 1948 by the United Nations, The idea that Israel could be defined by human made boarders on a map was considered blasphemous. Israel was defined by a people of faith following the Law and Traditions of Moses, the prophets etc, not by geographical boarders.

 

John envisions, “See, the home of God is among mortals and He will dwell with them: they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with the; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more…”

 

Jesus has conquered death through his obedience to God’s promise of our forgiveness. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, death is no more. And when Jesus sends the Holy Spirit, can you see John’s revelation coming to be.

 

GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT descends up God’s people, and now THROUGH the Holy Spirit, God lives in us, with us, under us, and over us! There is no place that God is not! Through the Holy Spirit God is as close as the air we breath. I want you to remember that on this time we celebrate Earth Day.

 

In Genesis, it is very clear that God’s People are responsible for caring for this amazing garden called earth.

 

IN the Apostle’s Creed, we say, “We believe in God the Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth.” My friend Dr. Harry Wendt of Crossways Bible Study would like to change this part of the Creed to say, “We believe in God the Father, Creator AND OWNER of Heaven and Earth.”

 

We need to remember that when Jesus gave His life for all people, Jesus was redeeming and sanctifying THE ENTIRE WORLD! Yes, our pets will be with us in heaven. What it means is that God considers ALL OF CREATION HOLY AND WORTHY OF OUR STEWARDSHIP!!! Including the animals and plants of the sea, every creepy thing on land, birds of the sky, grasses on the mountain and prairies, the great trees of the rainforests, the polar bears, sharks, tigers, sloths, sea turtles, flowers, and everything that has life. Through the cross, all of Creation has been sanctified!  

 

Taking care of the earth is not about us, or making us feel good, or even preserving or conserving the environment, it is an exercise of faith and an act faithful piety. The conservation movement was probably inspired by the compassion of St. Francis of Assisi, and should have been owned by the church since then or even before the time of Jesus.  How will they know we are Christians, of course when we worship and serve our neighbors, but it is time for the church to wake up to the fact that the caring of God’s Earth, a beautiful life filled marble floating out in the darkness of space, belongs to us. The Earth is not ours! It is not ours for profit or gain, it is ours because it is a gift from God and we are responsible for it’s care.

 

Let the Grace of God flow through as you allow the Spirit to direct you guide you and strengthen you as you look at the world through eyes of faith, when you hear the birds and animals with ears of faith, let your heart feel the joy, exhilaration and peace of God in the world that God has provided, “for you.” Amen. 

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