A Moonlight Vigil
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb . . .and there will be no night there. Revelation 21:22-25
I’m hesitant to write about such a private event, but it stands as an important reminder of the message of today’s passage, so here goes . . .
Last night, we sat with friends in a boat, holding a vigil outside the lake home of another friend who is spending her last days on this Earth. It’s been a long battle with cancer that I simply can’t imagine, having never been through such a trial myself. As the tears flowed, I prayed for her and her family, remembering her life in ours. Death is inevitably and profoundly sad, but nearing the end of this journey means the beginning of another journey as she prepares to enter eternity. As Christians, we believe that death isn’t the end and that our ultimate destination is in heaven with God – which is the subject of today’s passage.
In the passage, John described the new city of God coming down out of heaven to the new Earth. In this city there is no church or temple because we won’t have to go anywhere to find God. We will simply live in his continual presence. There’s no sun or moon because God himself will be the light that constantly illuminates our way. In that place, there will be no more night – no more suffering, pain, anxiety, or cancer. In heaven, all will be made perfect. Evil and pain will have no place there as we live with the father in paradise forever. This is what our friend looks forward to. This is what, as Christians, we all look forward to.
This requires faith to accept though. We can’t see the afterlife and I can’t prove to you that it exists. So, we must believe in it or not. I’d insist though, that in belief, I’ve found the proof of it in my own life. It is in believing in God and his promises that I’ve found joy, purpose, and meaning here and now. I can and should look forward to heaven, but the eternal life promised by God can be found today through a loving relationship with him, here in this life.
In knowing God, our lives aren’t made perfect. This world is desperately flawed and none of us can escape its corruption. In a relationship with God though, we can know joy and peace even in the midst of life’s trials as we, like our friend, look forward to our ultimate destination – heaven.