“Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” Revelation 21:3-5
As John writes these words, Christians are being persecuted and killed for their faith. Some are losing hope and faith, wanting to give up. John pens this while he is exiled for his faith. God gives him this vision, among others, to give Christians hope and promise that God will be victorious over the evil they are experiencing.
For me, these verses include three pictures: of heaven, of the end of time when good has overcome all evil, of the here and now when we can rest in the presence of God and God’s promises for us. As I write this, we are reeling from another variant of COVID, Omicron that has infected hundreds of thousands of people daily, and landed many individuals in the hospitals and/or in the ground. We do not seem to be winning the battle against COVID.
I turn to Rev. Janet Hunt for some inspiration. She writes, “God does not simply replace all that has been broken, defiled, betrayed, polluted, adulterated, or even in our understanding or experience, destroyed. Rather, somehow God gathers it all up and makes the old new again. God redeems what we thought was beyond the human capacity for hope.” Or as Rev. Dr. Israel Kamudzandu puts it, “God’s new creation must replace this deadly, torn, raped, angry, sick, evil, revengeful, hurtful, and painful world. John calls readers to see this world as one in which God will transform what we know today into something that is beyond human imagination.”
Natalie Sleeth echoes this theme through her beloved “Hymn of Promise,” “In our end is our beginning, in our time, infinity, in our doubt, there is believing, in our life, eternity, in our death, a resurrection, at the last, a victory, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.”
Furthermore, an anonymous author reminds us that the fury of the pandemic cannot cancel everything, “Not everything is cancelled. Sunshine is not cancelled. Spring is not cancelled. Love is not cancelled. Relationships are not cancelled. Reading is not cancelled. Naps are not cancelled. Devotion is not cancelled. Music is not cancelled. Dancing is not cancelled. Imagination is not cancelled. Kindness is not cancelled. Conversations are not cancelled. Hope is not cancelled.”
Hope is not cancelled, my friends! The pandemic has been powerful and will continue to be a struggle, but it does not have the power to cancel our hope in Jesus Christ and the many blessings that God sends our way. God has a way of making ALL things new.
Dr. Rita Sims is a retired Elder in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and is now the Co-Director of the Texas Conference Course of Study, Perkins Extension.
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