All Things New
Adapted from a sermon at First United Methodist Church of Orlando.
Tonight we come to the end of the Bible in Twelve Words series. Before we can move forward we need to quickly return to the very beginning. Genesis, the first book in the Bible, sets the tone for God’s epic story with humanity.
In Genesis, God creates everything and calls it good. That includes you, me, people everywhere, plants, animals, everything. God creates it and declares it good.
After creation, God and humanity live together in the Garden. Humanity, living in community, is also living directly with God. Yet humanity messes things up when they defy God and God expels humanity from the Garden and sin — separation from God — is created.
The rest of the Bible is the story of God attempting to reconnect with humanity to once again walk in the Garden together. This brings us to tonight.
Our scripture tonight is from the Book of Revelation. This is the final book in the Bible and one that is highly symbolic. It’s not my favorite book because of how symbolic the language is. Revelation can be confusing, which is why I was thrilled to see this was the scripture for tonight. But, as Pastor Shelly told me, there’s Good News to be heard out of Revelation too. So here we are!
Let’s set the scene for Revelation. Revelation is written by the prophet John. Throughout the Bible, prophets are people who speak for God. Sometimes they receive visions of what’s to come, sometimes God gives them words to say.
John was a prophet writing to a people in a time of turmoil. They were distressed and looking for hope. We can relate to this. Our world is not perfect. Turn on the news and you’ll see dark images and signs of sadness. Hope can often be difficult to find.
Revelation includes John’s four visions depicting the final restoration of God and humanity. In the introduction to Revelation, my Bible explains that hearers of the text “are urged to share in John’s experience of the (Holy) Spirit, not only in understanding what is written but also in their Sprit-led worship of the risen one.” So let’s take a moment to experience the Holy…