Micah 5:1-7:20; Revelation 7:1-17; Psalm 135; Proverbs 30:5-6
New Heaven and New Earth
An echo of Micah is what I heard when I read from John’s Revelation today. Triumph over difficulty and a time of rest and blessing are included as images of what the world will be when the new heaven and the new earth are made in the eschaton that God points us to in the Hebrew scriptures, that Jesus points us to in our Gospels, and that John points us to as it is revealed to him in a vision. There is also a difference. In Micah, the prophet addresses a remnant and in the last book of the bible, John describes a multitude from the whole earth. People robed in white surrounding the throne of God and calling, singing, crying in loud voice, “Salvation belong to our God and to the Lamb! Blessing and glory and honor and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen!”
The remnant can be described as the lucky few who remain to hear God’s voice again in the land of Israel and bring back to life the worship and life goodness that God wants for the chosen people. The remnant, who have experienced a great ordeal, when they are called back to God’s heart, it doesn’t matter what they have. They are to worry not about offering or sacrifice or what they are worth. But instead they are to live anew and do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. That is what the Lord requires. That is true compassion. That is perfect forgiveness to be released from all sin, transgression, and a way of life that was out of line with God’s will—to start new, to be free and loved.
So too, that is what is in God’s will for all the people of the earth when Christ comes again. That is the image that John gives to us in his revelation—that the remnant who came back to God in Israel will have affected the life of the world and changed it through time and across the globe so that all people might experience the love and freedom of God, be washed in the blood of the Lamb, and be singing praises to God as we read in Psalm 135. Today, imagine that freedom and start to live it. Feel that release from bondage and great ordeal in the depths of your soul. Look to the Lord. The God of salvation will hear you. Look to the time when all will be restored and when there will be no more crying but only praise and singing.
The Rev. Alison P. Harrity
St. Richard’s Episcopal Church