Wednesday morning, and the kids have school today. I love the irony of “snow days.” The weather is too bad for the little tykes to go to school: it would be bad to force them to walk a couple of blocks in the snow. Yet, what do they do the entire day, but play in the stuff that the school district said is too dangerous for school functions! As a kid, I remember walking to school five miles, uphill each way; snow up to my armpits; and wearing burlap wrapped around my feet as I had no shoes (he, he).
My reflection today is about our “new” lives in the relatively near future.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (NAB Rev 21:1-2)
December 1st, 1990 was the most special day of my adult life. I exclaimed the longest sentence known to man: “I DO!” I certainly do not mean this in a negative way. My promise to love, honor, and cherish is a living “covenant” that is renewed daily. I firmly believe it also gains strength each day, and in my heart I repeat those words every time I see my wife, and as I smile at her perpetual beauty.
I recently learned the real difference between a contract and a covenant. A contract is a promise with an ending; and a covenant is a solemn promise with no end in time. I wonder, if this was taught to today’s engaged couples preparing for marriage in the church, if there would be less divorces by marriages witnessed in our church’s.
God gave us many “‘covenants.” You can find them in the Bible, usually associated with a name change: i.e., Abram to Abraham, Sariah to Sarah, Noah to Noah (Ok, no name change, but a beautiful rainbow instead), and Simon to Peter, as examples. Jesus gave us another covenant: That He will return, and will rule on this earth, making it a paradise with all people raised from the grave, and living with Him in glory.
These bible verses are a conceptual and artistic description of God’s eternal kingdom in heaven using symbols for a “new heaven,” and a “new earth.” Written in Matthew 19:28, Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Jesus was talking to the Twelve, telling them they are promised that they will be joined with Jesus in the new life of us all, deemed worthy, in paradise; but I believe it is meant for us all. The word for “new age” is a Greek translation, and this word is seen only here and in Titus 3:5. The Greek word literally means “rebirth” or “regeneration,” and is used in Titus for a spiritual rebirth through baptism. Here it means the “rebirth” caused by the coming of the kingdom of God.
I think “the Sea” is also the “home of the dragon” (evil, sin, immorality, etc.), and it is doomed to disappear in this new time with Jesus. The war for our souls will be over. The bride, in this verse, represents the Church, and its role in the “new age” of living in God’s presence.
“Jesus, I so wish to be in your presence in the “new age” to come. Please help me to achieve this goal, and to acquire a place in heaven. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #10:
United themselves to the redemptive obedience of Jesus, who placed His will into the Father’s hands, let them faithfully fulfill the duties proper to their various circumstances of life. Let them also follow the poor and crucified Christ, witness to Him even in difficulties and persecutions.