I see people commenting, posting memes, writing articles, reacting to, responding to either one of the two major political candidates and these same people believe that the answer is “the other candidate,” as if that is a good solution. That’s not a solution. That’s not even stopping the bleeding. That’s not going to fix anything. We have to look beyond this election. We have to look beyond the next few months. We have to look to the future. We have an opportunity to continue in the path we are headed. Or we can see a different vision and carry it out. It starts with each one of us.
This may sound crazy. You may be thinking that we are stuck with a decision between two people. Maybe in the short term, if you buy the rhetoric. It may seem crazy since what is in front of us is a picture of doom and gloom and destruction and that is considered normal.
Yet, we who are believers claim a different reality. A reality based on the Kingdom of God, with it’s vision, that is summarized in Revelation 21 and 22. Yes, that Revelation. Of the Bible. Do we really believe it? Or are we just too comfortable to follow through on acting out that faith we have been given?
I’m not talking about the fundamentalist version of Revelation with the claim of some kind of Rapture where Jesus comes back a couple of times, the first time like Rambo locked and loaded and ready to kick ass. That’s not what Revelation is about. That idea didn’t even exist before 1830. That version of Revelation is made up. There’s a whole industry of so-called Christian pastors who make a lot of money by scaring people with the idea of Rapture. It’s wrong.
Revelation isn’t a prediction set in stone of what must happen. It’s not something where we have to connect some kind of pieces and figure out when it will happen either. No, that’s not Revelation at all. That’s made up crazy talk that missed the whole point of the Bible and especially Revelation.
Instead, what we get in Revelation is a vision of an alternate reality – the New Jerusalem. The city of God, coming down from heaven to be with creation, restoring creation and humanity to the ideal. A city of comfort, a city of healing, a city with no walls, but rather open gates for all to enter. A city with the tree of life firmly planted.
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.
As Christians we are called to to serve in this reality, with our eyes on the alternative reality that God presents to us.
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. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’
What we believe in, we will find in the world. If we believe that the only answer is violence, then we will see it and participate in it. If we believe that God is active in the world, restoring it, as promised, then we will see that too.
The answer to our problems isn’t more of the same – more politics, more rules, more violence, more war, more guns, more mistrust, more laws, more separation, more fear, more anger, more politicians, more government.
You might think I’m living in dream land. So be it. Believe that if you like. When I look at the reality of the world today, I see a world that is caught in a bad dream, that desperately wants to wake up from it to something else. Revelation 21 and 22 are great options for that something else. They offer hope, healing, community, well-being.