Chapter & verse: Revelation 21:22-22:5
Erna Stevenson finds Christian Aid in Revelation
How fitting it is that Christian Aid Week should fall in the season of Easter! It is in the event of the resurrection that God’s emphatic ‘NO’ to suffering and death, to humiliation and offence, to injustice and oppression, can be heard the loudest. The heart of the Easter message is that the presence of God, God’s ‘YES’ to life in all its fullness, did not end with Jesus’ brutal execution but remained accessible in the lives of his followers. It is useful to think about this as we contemplate some of the harsh situations where Christian Aid is engaged on our behalf.
As followers of Christ, we cannot but affirm Christian Aid’s summary manifesto: ‘We believe in life before death’. We want to say ‘Yes’ to abundant life for all, we want to say ‘No’ to everything that prevents it happening. Those whose hope is in the risen Christ cannot say things like: ‘That’s just how it is.’ The power of the resurrection does not only make a new vision possible, it compels us to tangible acts of love and peace, to giving without counting the cost.
In Revelation, we see a vision of what the world would look like in the light of the New Creation heralded by Christ’s resurrection. The city described there is the picture of a perfect society. It is vast and open to all. There is no room in it for pain, death or suffering. God and people dwell together because there is nothing that would disrupt the relationship, or relationships between peoples.
New Jerusalem, as perceived in a first-century vision, is an inverted mirror image of how things are in our 21st-century world. Many slums in developing countries have no clean water – yet there is ample water gushing from the heavenly city’s spring of life. Some slum communities must pay for clean and safe water – but in the vision, water is freely available to all. Many slum dwellings are small, windowless shacks – but the glory of God gives light in New Jerusalem. …
This is an extract from the May 2017 edition of Reform