May 19 – Living in the New Jerusalem

Imagine if for the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost that Christians would live each day as if they already live in the New Jerusalem that John writes about in the closing chapters of Revelation.

Of course Christians are called to live everyday showing their allegiance to the Lord. But if during Lent we strive to fast from those things that would distract us from living uniquely as Christians, then what if during the season of Easter we strove to live as if we were now in the New Jerusalem?

Baptism font reflecting stained glass window

Then [the one seated on the throne] said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from spring of the water of life.”

Revelation 21:6 (NRSV)

During this Easter discipline everything we do or say would be for the Lord our God. If during Lent one might fast from gossip and falsehood, then during Easter one would seek opportunities to build up whatever is good in our neighbors and in our enemies. If during Lent one might fast from ostentatious living by giving up certain foods or modes of dress, then during Easter one would seek to material equality so each person might fully utilize their God given skills. If during Lent one might fast from frivolous distractions and profanities, then during Easter one would seek to be fully engaged with bringing honor and glory to the gifts we have been entrusted with. If during Lent we turn away from sin, then during Easter we would turn toward love, making the whole of life an act of prayer.

The hardest part would be keeping this discipline for 50 days. But if a few people could do this and did this regularly, I believe the one seated upon the throne would change the world.

I will have more to say about Revelation 21:1-8 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church at 8:15 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 19th.
Robert Shaw, Pastor

A Tip for Parents

Baked ham being sliced

Why is ham a traditional Easter meal?

In the 10th chapter of Acts the Apostle Peter dreams that God tells him to eat foods that Jews have considered unclean for thousands of years. In the next chapter he uses this dream to explain why he ate with people whom the Jews considered to be unclean.

Thus when eating ham we should be asking not merely what foods have I needlessly excluded but whom have we excluded from the household of God?