The end of each semester is often a time of reflection- did the semester go well, what could have gone better, what are changes to make for next semester? Reflecting over this past semester is a little different though. Every campus across the country has had its own set of Covid rules and regulations. Several schools have waffled throughout the semester between allowing students on campus and sending everyone home. Entire Greek chapters have been moved out of their own houses. It has been a chaotic semester, to say the least.
We have had to live in the tension of living in the here and now, while also readying ourselves to change our plans at any moment. This tension has been so pervasive, that the idea of “peace” sounds like a foreign concept. And yet, peace is one of the focuses of the Advent season. So, how do we celebrate and experience peace this Advent season as we also continue to experience the implications of Covid?
This week we will be reading a passage from the final book of the Bible, Revelation. Revelation is a composed of a series of the apostle John’s dreams and visions from the Lord. In these dreams and visions, God reveals to John what His new Heaven on Earth will look like when Jesus comes again. We enter the passage as John continues to describe what God’s Heaven on Earth will look like.
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Questions to Consider
- Who is the Lamb?
- What does it mean that the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of the city?
- What is the difference between light and darkness? Why is it significant that there will be no more night and that the city’s light will come from the glory of God?
- What does it mean that the Lamb is the lamp for the glory of God?
What an image! God the Father and God the Son giving literal light to the world. The light they provide is continuous too- there is no more night and no more darkness. It’s hard to imagine this, especially as the days grow shorter in the winter. Along with the literal darkness of the winter season though, we are also experiencing more figurative darkness. Anxiety, sadness, loneliness, anger, and depression feel amplified as Covid and “the winter blues” merge.
Just as we experience literal and figurative darkness, the light from God in this vision is literal and figurative. Not only is there no longer any literal darkness, there is also no more spiritual, mental, or emotional darkness. Now that sounds peaceful!
We are not yet in the new Heaven on Earth though, and we still experience the darkness of living in a broken world and living through Covid. So, what does this passage mean for us today? While Advent is a season of celebration and joy, it is also a season of longing and anticipation. Our celebration in the Advent season comes from the knowledge that Jesus has already come, but we are also meant to celebrate the anticipation of him coming again. This passage is a promise of what is to come, and, as we saw in our last blog series on God’s promises, God follows through on his promises!
We get to experience a slice of this promise of peace now through Jesus. Yet, we continue to celebrate with longing and anticipation that one day we will experience this promise of peace in its fullness.
So, what could it look like to celebrate the peace that is to come even if we don’t feel it now? What could it look like to celebrate with longing and anticipation this Christmas season?