This coming Sunday’s reading from John’s Revelation couldn’t be more appropriate, given the terrible week we endured last week. We were shocked into silence, and then burst with outrage with the explosions at the marathon. While we were dealing with the vulnerability that event engendered in us, West, Texas experienced a horrific explosion that killed, injured, and devastated. This, at least, appeared to be some sort of accident, but again we’re reminded of how tenuous life can be. Still reeling from these two tragic events, we learn that a large earthquake struck China, crushing homes and people, while floods began to affect our own midwest and Mississippi valley. Any of these is unsettling; all together, they are a body blow.
Then John speaks to us.
"See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them as their God;
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."
In this present world, we can only imagine the new heaven and new earth John saw descending, taking the place of this earth with its suffering and fear. But the words John spoke can resonate with any one of us who ever experienced a loving person wiping our tears. Some of my most precious memories are of my mother, my head in her lap, sweetly wiping my tears and singing songs of love to me, “to make it all better.”
What God will provide will be beyond anything like that. Not only will we be comforted, but Death, itself, will cease to hold sway over us. The weeping and mourning and pain, too real to us in this life of ours, will end--and end for eternity.
This is God’s gift to us in the midst of tragedy, shock and, perhaps even a little despair. “I am making all things new,” God says to us. “I am making all things new.”
Thanks be to God!