“Woodstock” Joni Mitchell
Suddenly the world feels like a very dangerous place. You are on vacation and a bomb violently takes your life. You go about your business and a sniper chooses you as his next target. Of course we have all been feeling a bit uneasy since the September 11th bombings. But just as you thought it was safe to reenter life, the bombers and the snipers go to work. Residents of places like Palestine and Kashmir know that the world is not a safe place. Now the rest of us know it too.
The powers that be do what they think will help us be more secure — more Draconian laws, more stringent airport checks, more combat missions — but one can’t help but feel that nothing we do will ever make us feel completely safe again.
Yet there may be some redeeming purpose in our present sense of insecurity. It is a reminder of our spiritual geography. It is a reminder that we are living outside Eden.
Fact is, the last time and place we were safe was when our forefathers lived in Eden. Expelled from Eden because of sin, we now live outside the borders of Eden where sin, Satan, and death, reign supreme. (Genesis 1-3)
We have tried to create our own bastions of safety, based on human ingenuity and technology. But like the tower of Babel they are all doomed to fail.
Where and when will we be safe again? How do we get back to Eden? Apparently we can’t. But we have been promised something better.
“I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride dressed for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, ”Look, here God lives among human beings. He will make his home among them; they will be his people, and he will be their God, God-with-them. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness or pain. The world of the past has gone.’ Then the One sitting on the throne spoke, ”Look, I am making the whole of creation new.’ ” Revelation 21: 2-5a NJB
How do we get to this New Jerusalem? There is one who will lead us there. (And his name is not Neo.)
Jesus has already told us that He is the way, the truth and the life. And that no one comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)
This guide to the New Jerusalem comes with impeccable credentials — He died and rose again from the dead. All who have put their trust in Him have a deep sense of security though they are still live outside of Eden.
The New Jerusalem is something yet to come, located in the future. But it appears that the very prospect of citizenship in the New Jerusalem is so powerful that it bequeaths on one a deep sense of security even while we wait.
No, we cannot go back to Eden. But we can be part of the New Jerusalem. And if recent violent events remind us that we are outside of Eden then they do us a service.
For those of us who know Jesus, we cling tightly to Him, grateful for our ultimate destiny and the security it affords in the present.
For those of us still searching, a fresh reminder that there is no real security in this life. And thus the need to go on searching. And maybe an encouragement to consider the claims of the person who had the audacity to claim that He is the way to true life.