The River of Life
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign for ever and ever.
Reflection by Duke Yaguchi
During this stewardship season, we've been asked to imagine our church anew.
Today's scripture describes a vision of an abundant and perfect life. Healing. Everyone will be worshiping God. The difficulty with visions is how does it apply? Is this a description of heaven and the afterlife? Or is this a vision of life on Earth in some distant future?
"Nothing accursed will be found there any more." Accursed: to express a strong dislike or anger toward someone or something. [Oxford languages online] Where does dislike or anger come from? Usually when someone does something or says something that we dislike.
Why do we dislike that? Because we've been taught that is wrong. Or we take it as a personal attack. Or we want to protect someone else from being hurt. We pass judgment.
How can we judge less? By tolerating more. By turning the other cheek. By walking in someone else's shoes.
Maybe this vision isn't so much as a description of heaven as it is a possibility of how life can be on Earth, here and now. Can you imagine it?
Dear Lord, as we imagine our church anew amidst this pandemic, give us the imagination to see things differently. Help us to imagine more of what can be instead of what has been lost. Help us imagine a new meaning and interpretation of the word: church. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.