From De-creation to Re-creation, Part 2

From Pastor Aaron:

As I shared last week, disconnection from God begins the de-creation process. De-creation is the brokenness of this world. It's the world of burnout, unrelenting stress, burden, heartache, endless to do lists and pressures to perform and earn our worth. It’s anything but FUN!

So now what leads to recreation? Today we go to the end of the Bible, to Revelation 22, which gives us a picture of that re-creation at its completion… Eden is restored.

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him."

This is the Word of the Lord, thanks be to God.

John in this passage brings the story full circle: even the glorious world of Genesis 1 was the beginning of something, rather than an end. The Garden of Eden was itself a great signpost, pointing to the world that God always intended to make out of it… a garden city… The city of Eden.

This is a surprise to many Christians, but in fact it should be central to our concept of God. The whole of Christian theology is based on the goodness of creation, yet the goodness of creation also points beyond itself to the new creation. It isn’t the case that the new creation was an afterthought, a Plan B once the first creation had gone so badly wrong. Human sin has meant that God’s eventual design has had to be arrived at by a long, winding road…an often tear-stained, violent route, with the most important tears and blood being those of God himself, in the person of Jesus.

And in the city of God, life, the water of life, is flowing from the city to the world. God’s generous love is the source (and the and goal) of all things. How can the city where he and the lamb are personally present be other than the great wellspring of life, flowing out to those who need it!

"On each side of the river stood the Tree of Life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations."  What an amazing tree. It's just one tree, but it stands on both sides of the river. Picture that, if you can. It bears "twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month." The progression of months remains intact in God's kingdom—one through twelve—but the cycle of seasons ends. It’s an endless summer.
Well, that sounds fun.

And the leaves of the ‘tree of life’ is not merely there to provide healing for this person or that person. The vision of John has always concerned the larger realities, nations and whole people groups. Now the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

And then there’s a throne. None of this will be undone by human power struggles or political parties. It will be overseen by Jesus whose throne is in heaven now. No longer people serving human tyrannies… the people serve him.

Three aspects of this imagery speak to me.

River of Life
The Tree’s Healing Leaves
A Throne

1. River of Life:

What makes us want to gather at that river. Maybe it’s meals with friends around a table. OR facetime calls with family across the country…. Whatever God has willed for you to uniquely draw life. That question is at the center of our series. What sounds fun, what sounds life-giving, what sounds re-creative for you.”  

2.The Healing Leaves:

Surrounding yourself with negative people can hold you back from what you truly want in life, and what God truly wants for your life. Surrounding yourself with healthy spiritual friends can cultivate life.  It takes time to find these spiritual friends and you may only have one or two now. But they are necessary and important for re-creation spiritually and in life’s difficult journey.

3.The Throne
Whoever and whatever is on the throne of your life will determine the fruits of your life. I know this to be true. Whatever is the Lord, whatever takes primacy in your life will bear that fruit.
Who occupies that throne, really? If it is Jesus, it will bear that fruit.
You’ve heard it said, “Heavy is the head that wears the crown.” There just isn’t a good track record for we humans trying to be Kings and Queens. Only Jesus can handle the weight of the crown.

I’ll take that God's creation any day.  To see what God is doing...that sounds fun.

Lord, lead us to the new Eden along Your perfect path of love. Show us how to lead our fullest, most joyful life rooted in the gifts of fun You have set right in front of us.

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