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The Congregational Church of West Medford is now doing business as Sanctuary UCC.

A Picture of a New Heaven and a New Earth

…there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out… “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” —Revelation 7:9-10

As I prepare for worship this week I am, as I suspect you are, spent from the many emotions, actions and prayers of the week. There is some chaos in my head, and some numbness (do you share that feeling?). I am not yet sure what God calls me to say to you from this page. Yet, I have a deadline for this document. So I offer this prayer from the Seasons of the Spirit. It was not written in response to the Boston Marathon Bombings or the horrible events that have unfolded since, yet I find it comforting and apropos. I pray that it provides you with an upper room from which to hope.  —Rev Wendy

A New Heaven and A New Earth
A New Heaven and A New Earth

Scripture paints a picture of a world beyond this world, strange to us in its beauty, marvelous in its simplicity. Men and women robed in white—every nation, every tribe, every people, every tongue, splendid in diversity, yet finally at peace with one another; comfortable with difference, wearing one garment that unites all, carrying branches as they did long ago throughout Jerusalem, angels, heavenly creatures, men and women together, praising God.

There is a vision of a new heaven, a new earth. Rivers that bring life, leaves on the trees that heal the nations, a city, a palace, a throne, a home with many mansions, many rooms, place and space for all folk, a land of dreams, a vision of oneness, hunger and thirst left behind, violence and death things of the past. A lamb, a shepherd, springs of water, and we will weep no more.

Scripture tells a story of a world within this world, strange to us in the midst of what we know, remarkable in its simplicity, telling all we need for a kin-dom of God here on earth. No mansions, no thrones, no robes, no mystic streams, but an upper room, where feet are washed, where food is shared and the Messiah declared in the spilling of wine and the taking of a cup. Where bread is broken to make people whole. Where hopes are dashed only to be reborn on the third day.
The upper room of the Last Supper, the upper room of a home in Joppa, the upper room of many a new disciple become places of resurrection and new birth—a time to get up and live, to get up and go out into all the world with good news of joy, commitment, hope.

Scripture paints a picture of a new heaven, a new earth where the Spirit dwells in men, women and children all called to serve, inspired to lead, invited to be whole, strange to us in its courage, beautiful in its simplicity—a people for God.

So far we have travelled from those upper rooms. So distant we seem from those early believers—but the vision is still ours, the picture ours to paint, new life ours to share. Where the darkness gathers, the fury rages, the need rises, the pain groans. So dress our imagination in the white of new life till the dream becomes reality, till the story becomes true, till the picture be-comes perfect. In the love of God Creator, Redeemer, and Spirit. Amen

With blessing and prayers for transformation & resurrection—in you and in our church’s ministry!
Rev. Wendy Miller Olapade

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