I am excited! Next week is our annual Deer Island trip. This is the highlight of the year for many of us. The idea originated as I read Romans chapter one where Paul talks about nature evidencing “the divine nature and eternal power” of God. I wondered about some of my friends who see the sunrise appear over the building across the street and see it set behind the one behind them, people who only see a rainbow in an oil slicked puddle. So we determined to get folks into nature. The results are thrilling.
As the time approaches again, though I realise that I (and perhaps much of the Church) have had a wrong idea about the city. This wrong idea springs from the idea that Eden is the ideal and that somehow God is working things so that we might one day return to this idyllic state. This thinking does not take into account that our creative God is not interested in merely undoing the Fall. He is interested in creatively redeeming the fallen world and to reconcile it to Himself once more.
In the early Biblical accounts (Babel & Gommorah) we see cities as being places of evil and godlessness but soon God begins to do a new thing and the cities of refuge are established. Eventually the city of Jerusalem becomes a key picture of God’s Kingdom. In the final picture of Revelation we see not a new Eden but a New Jerusalem the City of God. Sure the Tree of Life is there and the River of God but they are at home in the new community where myriads of people from every tribe tongue and nation gather around the throne room of the King.
While it is good to ‘retreat’ into nature our calling is to a reconciled community. Our Kingdom work is to be yoke with Christ in the redemption process which is best pictured in the city. I am excited about going to Deer Island but I am thrilled with the anticipation of returning and being a part of God’s creative plan to reconcile others to Him and to usher in the City of God. At Up Town we have a distinct call to be a part of this ministry of reconciliation through our ministry of “performing acts of kindness in the power of the Holy Spirit”. How cool is that!