Revelation 21:1-4 (ESV)I was sitting in a small church in Maude Town, Liberia this past Sunday wondering what I would say if I was asked to speak to the congregation. I'd been in Liberia for four days. My head was full of thoughts, most of them disjointed. What if they asked their American visitors to share a few words? What should I say? What could I say?
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, 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, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
The thought that came to me as I was sitting there was God's promise of a new heaven and a new earth. This is a wonderful promise from God. Yet to this point in my life, I'd had a pretty shallow appreciation for this promise. After all, this current earth has not been that bad for me. I certainly have not been in a hurry to leave it.
However, as the images of this war torn country ran through my head, I could really appreciate the beauty of this promise. This new appreciation was much more than just seeing the tin shacks and dirt roads full of craters that made up the landscape. It was the potential beauty that you could see behind the scenes. In my minds eye, if I just took an eraser and erased the shacks and the garbage and the craters, what was left was a landscape that looked like a paradise.
Well, I was asked to speak to this small congregation of brothers and sisters in Christ. I started to talk about my time with Moses and how much my family loved him and then I started crying like a baby. I cried because I not only loved Moses but because I loved all these people. However, these were not necessarily tears of sorrow for my new friends. These were tears of love and tears of pride for my new found family in Christ.
I composed myself and shared Revelation 21:1-4 with the church. I wasn't sharing anything they did not already know. What I was sharing was that now I know what this promise means.
There is much more to write about my trip. Many of my thoughts are still disjointed. I'll share more in the days and weeks to come.