Friday, December 28, 2007

All you stand to lose is your damnation

"By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day -- and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it." Revelation 21:24-27a

In October Jani and I were in Beijing. One evening we went out for dinner at the 300-year old home of a Chinese prince, now a restaurant. The menu offered, among other dishes, deer afterbirth. With that exception, we loved it all. Traditional Chinese dress, dance, food, music. I thought of John's vision of the holy city where we'll live with God forever, this passage in chapter 21, and I thought, "All this human fascination here in this restaurant -- a preview of coming attractions. Modernity will not succeed in grinding these glories of human creation into indistinguishable gray mush, these glories which the Lord Jesus wired into us in the beginning. The redeemed will bring into the holy city the glory and honor of their nations. The languages and literatures, the music and the dances, the sports and the jokes -- all the charming, impressive, venerable and hilarious creations of man, but now purified and consecrated to the Lord Jesus Christ, who will rule over us all with great joy.

Streaming through the gates of the New Jerusalem I see a Scottish pipe band in their kilts, and here come some amazing African dancers, and (my personal favorite) a garage band from 1960's California. Here comes Jane Austen with her novels. Here comes some shepherd boy from Greece in the second century A.D. with his little home-made pan pipe. No one is excluded. Everyone is treasured, rejoiced over.

The Savior of the world says to us all, "So then, what are you? What are you, London, Tel Aviv, Nashville? Whatever you are, bring it on. All you stand to lose, by coming to me, is your damnation. And everything else about you I will make eternal, to the glory of God."

How can we not love Someone like that?