Rev 22: 1-7
John said: An angel showed me the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the street, On either side of the river grew the tree of life that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month; the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations. Nothing accursed will be found anymore. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will look upon his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever and ever. And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true, and the Lord, the God of prophetic spirits, sent his angel to show his servants what must happen soon.” “Behold, I am coming soon.”
Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book.
Not evil, misery, destruction have the last word, but God!
We are heading towards a glorious future that begins now, if we persevere in faith. God did not bring his creation into being in order to destroy it or have it destroyed. Everything is brought to transfiguration through the path of suffering. We human beings, when this body is given over to death, will indeed receive a transfigured body at the resurrection, which is no longer subject to transitoriness and thus to suffering and death! Our future life will be so wonderful that, in view of the glory that lies before us, we should walk with patience and perseverance through this “valley of tears” and bear the sufferings of this life in the Lord (cf. Rom 8,18).
Today’s text gives us an insight into this glorious future:
From the throne of God emanates the water of life, it is the streams of His grace that enliven and heal all that is touched by the grace of God. No one will be separated from God anymore. There are no more obstacles for the love of God to penetrate everything and anything. No shadow will darken the light any more. We human beings are awakening to our eternal destiny of serving God and seeing His face!
This is our future and it is already breaking into our lives through faith. It becomes obvious how essential it is to live in this hope. The return of Christ is imminent, and it is getting closer every day. The more we reach out for it, the more grace will strengthen us.
At the beginning of the small series of reflections on the Apocalypse, we pointed out that there is a special promise for reading this book and for listening (cf. Rev 1:3). In the concluding words of today’s text it says:
“’Behold, I am coming soon.’ Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book.”
It is our task to keep alive the hope for the coming of the Lord and the life of the future world, both in ourselves and in witnessing to others. This is not a cheap consolation, as some would like to see it, but the opposite: the concrete end of life for eternity. The hope in the returning Lord revives all our strength, which is necessary to master our task on earth with the grace of God. It helps us not to forget ourselves in the stream of time and to lose our orientation.
With our reflections we will enter the new church year starting tomorrow.
Today we conclude this little voyage into the Apocalypse with the singing of the very last passage of this prophetic book. May the Lord let his fire burn in our hearts so that we await his arrival and he finds us in his vineyard as good workers!