Leaves that Heal Nations

In the Kingdom, when it comes, there will be the tree of life that bears different fruits and the leaves of that tree will function like medicine to heal the nations. It is not often when reading Revelation that I know if I am reading a metaphor or imagery or literally, but in this instant, I don’t think it is harmful to believe a literal very large and very happy looking tree fulfilling this purpose.

But the tree as it stands and sways is made and moved by Jesus, in Him it moves, we breathe and have being. In this same Kingdom, in those same eternal moments every tear, every sorrow, all recollection of death and pain will be wiped away.

It is on that hope, I hope to encourage you with these brief words. Jesus came and comes again with one intention, to lavish love on His Bride, His Beloved, His people in restored relationship.

10794631-beautiful-autumn-leaves-filling-the-frame

There is a strange dichotomy at play though, right now. Winter is supposed to pass; it’s supposed to be done with on Thursday. The time of things dying and being laid bare is supposed to be behind us, even during Lent, a time meant to prepare us, a season of repentance of sins, of giving away, of denying our self. The leaves and flowers are determined to make their appearing. And yet the world is slowing down and simultaneously crying out because of sickness.

But maybe the world, the creation and the command of God are all crying out the same thing.

Maybe they are crying out, “Do not be afraid!” Particularly afraid defined as running away or fleeing. We may stand our ground or even be forced into solitude or quiet in these times but the potential for relationship and community and conversation still exist in abundance. The potential for love and kindness and mercy is present.

And though we wait, for the day when leaves will heal nations, perhaps Jesus has left us, His church to heal and bless the nations. 

What’s God’s Endgame?

You may have heard about this movie coming out called Avengers: Endgame. It’s one of those low budget independent films, trying to win some film festival awards. I bought tickets to it for the first showing at 5 pm tomorrow. I’m pretty excited about it. You’re probably not going to see it or hear about it much, but I’m hoping to enjoy it.

I’m done pandering…https___cdn.cnn.com_cnnnext_dam_assets_190403144228-avengers-endgame-thumb-imax-poster.jpg

I don’t mean to spoil the previous movie Infinity War, but it basically ended with a whole bunch of characters ceasing to exist, and lest we think the concept or conclusion is unique, the world, or humanity or a day of reckoning is a fairly played out blockbuster movie trope.

Everyone is trying to save the world. Recently corporations who previously were less pretentious about wanting to make money off its consumers have found ways to leverage ads to toot their own horns about being heroes. And I know why they do it. Western culture buys into a desire to appear to be as good of people as possible whilst still satisfying self as our chief end.

51GqyevRtBL._SX360_BO1,204,203,200_We still market our perception of “goodness” with statements or rather visual expressions of “sex sells.” Now advertises are testing the waters of whether or not “service sells” which leads to a new end which I believe we’ll see play itself out more in the political arena in the statement suggestive of “salvation sells.”

I don’t think people will necessarily peddle the word salvation (in the Orthodox Christian paradoxical sense) but the hope of redeeming and righting of the wrongs of the other side/enemy through politics or human effort is the platform on which humanity is destroying each other.

But then there is God’s Endgame.

On His (Jesus’) shoulders rests a Kingdom that is not passing away. In this Kingdom is the Intercessor who is coming to reign.

Jesus’ Endgame started on the Cross declaring “It is finished,” paying off a seemingly infinite death with His blood. The end of His life leading to the His Resurrection marked the victory over death the grave and the principalities and powers of the age though they still seem to have a pretty significant foothold.

But to what end does this game continue. What are we or rather what is God waiting for. God is clearly patient, God has not destroyed this place, nor I believe God will.

Let me share with you a passage to chew on from Matthew 24:13-14:

But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Two marks of genuine faith are endurance and proclamation. Announcing goodness (Advertising) and Endurance (Quality Assurance). I likely should apologize comparing a life of faith to a Product but in part that is what we are. We are products, creations, children, seed of Heavenly Father because we were purchased through the blood of the Son.

I could write a long explanation through the rest of this blog, poetic, reflective, but God caught me dead in my tracks with this:

You are God’s Endgame.

Jesus reconciling humanity (you and I very much included) to God through Himself no matter how long it takes for us to accept, receive or walk in daily.

I was the joy set before Him and Christ is my exceedingly great reward.

It’s taking a lot longer than 3 hours on a Big Screen to play out, but it’s worth it if the End is my heart fully given over to the Alpha and Omega, Captain of our Faith, Avenger of Heaven, Perfecter of our Faith, Yahweh’s Son, Iron sharpening Iron Godman, child of the Marveling Mary, Lord of the Universe, Jesus Christ.

You, Jesus are the only One who saved the world

You, Jesus the only One to save me

I’ve been rescued by your Love

May my faith be held steady and be made ready

To endure until the End

*Don’t spoil the movie*

 

 

 

The Bride of Christ and No More Night: Meditation on Revelation 21:25

“And its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.”

When I lived in Clarks Summit for 8 months I went to a sandwich shop and the man working behind the counter said, “This is the kind of town where you don’t have to lock your doors.” In other words, “this place is safe.” Fortunately, I had three entrances to my five room tiny apartment, and I kept them all locked out of habit. God tells us only to close our door except to pray, as a sign of intimacy, I think. A couple likewise closes there door I imagine for their own intimacy but someone who closes their door when they are alone is isolated. They in a sense are hiding from no one and everyone. To close a door in darkness means one does not want to be seen; one likely does not want to see themselves.  Drinking in a group and in moderation is celebrated, drinking alone is a problem. Knowing your spouse in the bedroom is intimacy, knowing any other form of sexual pleasure alone is empty and unsatisfying.

People in general don’t like being alone. They also don’t like dark alleys when someone is walking behind them. Some forms of torture trap you alone in darkness. Darkness is dreadful because there is isolation. Nobody likes feeling locked in or trapped. I liked Clarks Summit because the town felt safe and just big enough and close enough to bustle that it served me well. I hated Clarks Summit because it was the first time I ever lived alone.

The beauty of being a Bride of Christ is we are never alone. The bride dressed in white, seen in the light is enhanced by the celebration and participation of others when they are wide awake. At night it’s hard to see and we are tired (see disciples falling asleep when Jesus asks them to pray). This is why nobody starts a wedding at 10 or 11 pm, except maybe vampires but I’m not familiar with their culture. The point is a lot of preparation takes place even on the day of a wedding. The celebration is meant to last a long time, in some cultures even days. In the Christian’s case, it lasts an eternity. The body/bride of Christ forever gets to see Christ in the light of His glory never again having to worry about sleep. Rather our rest is in His presence, His glory.

Gates always open, God as the light and nothing evil detestable or false will ever enter into His kingdom because it knows better. The darkness will cease having its effect on us, we will stop yielding to it, we will yield only to the Bridegroom to the Righteous One and we will never be left in the dark. The idea of no more night is what I want to bring light to my heart and mind. The light exposes my sin and my darkness and “as long as it is light (day), we must do the works of him who sent me.” (John 9:4) No one can serve God fully in love when confronted with their own night (darkness). Lord, let us walk in Your Light. Help me, help us no better as your Bride.