Is that it? As you reflect on the past year and look ahead to this new year, is this the question you raise? Is that it? Is that all there is? Will next year be any different or just more of the same?
We might ask the same question of this week’s scriptures. We have affirmed that God loves us (Ps. 8). We know life has ups and downs, but God calls us to meaningful work and enjoyment of life (Eccles. 3:1-13). We know God calls us to labor on behalf of the powerless (Matt. 25:31-46). But is that it? Does every human life entail a few years of all of us doing the same thing—trying to enjoy God’s gifts while caring for those who aren’t so blessed? Is there nothing more? What’s the point? It’s enough to drive a person from existential angst to nihilistic despair.
The good news is that God does have greater plans for us than an eternity of human generations struggling to love and provide succor to others. Today’s scripture offers a vision of hope.
God comes to be with us. These verses confirm that hope three times: “the home of God is among mortals”; “[God] will dwell with them”; and “God himself will be with them.” God joins us and makes provision for God’s people. Our hope resides in our relationship to God and to one another. These verses describe a time when there are no more powerless ones to help, a time when weeping and mourning and death are gone forever. The one “seated on the throne” gives water to the thirsty. The time will come when we can stop struggling and simply live in God’s loving presence forever.

How can this year become a year of moving ourselves and the world a little closer to God’s vision? What can you undertake this year to move the world closer to the reality of God’s new heaven and new earth?

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