URC Daily Devotion Saturday 13 January 2024

Revelation 21: 1 – 5

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.’

And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’


At the time of writing our television screens are full of distressing pictures. These include the rocket attacks on Israel with tanks assembled on the borders of Gaza, earthquakes in Morocco and Afghanistan, as well as flooding in Libya, in the USA and even in the UK. So much tragedy and loss of life.

This passage from Revelation comes as a message of hope. There will be a time when there will no longer be mourning, crying and pain. God’s kingdom will have come when the failings and failures of this present world will be replaced by a new era. Things won’t stay as they are, and God’s plan is for something much better – a restoration of all that is good in the world he created.

It may seem surprising that in this new era there will no longer be any sea. But surely this alludes to the waters of chaos which we find in Genesis and in ancient myth. Chaos at times seems a good word to describe the world we live in. The banishing of the ‘sea’ represents God’s overcoming of chaos and the establishment of his reign.

Is this new heaven and new earth just a pipe dream? Is it something that we hope for, pray for and wait for…when the time is right? Or can we be an answer to our own prayers even now. Do we resign ourselves to war and conflict as a reality of this world? Surely just as Jesus’ ministry was one of reconciliation, we can play our part (however small that might be) to make peace a reality around us. Undoubtedly some of the natural disasters have come about because of the environmental crisis. We know that things can be turned around but that begins with you and me and our lifestyles.

This vision of a new heaven and a new earth can become a reality even now if we pray and work for it. 

Dear Lord,
We long for and pray for that day when tissue manufacturers go out of business,
when tissues are no longer required for mopping up tears and wiping snotty noses.
We pray for peace makers, doctors and researchers…and ourselves,
that we can work to have a foretaste of the new heaven and new earth…now.
In the meantime, we ask you to use us to hold the box of tissues for those who need them. Amen

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