1 Samuel 16:1,6-7,10-13
I have to agree with Rob Bell about the new heaven and new earth. In his book Velvet Elvis he writes about how, as Christians, we place too much emphasis on waiting for the new heaven and the new earth. What we need to do, he postulates is stop waiting and start creating the new heaven and earth right here, right now. Build the new Eden. Because Jesus’ kingdom is already but not yet, we are called to live that Kingdom life here on earth. I think living a lifestyle of kingdom-ness helps usher in this new heaven and new earth. By living it, we bring it into being. At least we live like we believe it already exists but is not yet here. I find myself frequently thinking to myself that if I wait long enough my life will be amazing. I rest on my laurels imagining, fantasizing, about what life will be like in the presence of Jesus in this new heaven and on this new earth. How glorious it will be to look into the eyes of Jesus. I forget that realistically, Jesus is here and now and my life is being lived already in his spiritual presence, but not yet in the physical presence. However, I get a sense of that physical presence when I look into the eyes of a trouble teen, a rushed business person, a homeless person on the street, or even the professors that seem too put together to need or want a savior. I can only imagine what the disciples felt as they lived along side this man, Jesus. I know what I feel like when I get a glimpse of Jesus in my fellow humans, what I feel like when my heart is moved by a poem, a song, or a story, and what I feel like when I see the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ in action on this earth. I think part of what Isaiah is saying is that through our interconnectedness and mutual uplifting we experience this new kingdom: “I will create a new heaven and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.”
This passage always tests me to my wits end. How can a father, who desparately wants to have his child healed, simply believe Jesus when he says: “You may go. You son will live.” I cannot imagine myself, though I have no children of my own, just believing or having faith that my son would live. I think I would probably stand there arguing with Jesus about how he really needs to come and save my son. Maybe. Maybe I would look into his eyes and know. Maybe I would see glimpses of the divine, enough of a spark of recognition in his eyes that I would have that faith. John writes: “The man took Jesus at his word and departed.” While he was walking home, obviously a long way from where his conversation with Jesus takes place because it says, “The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour,” his servants meet him to tell him that Junior is okay. Not only does the father walk a ways to get Jesus to heal his son, but he returns with only Jesus’ word that Junior is going to get better. This miracle was enough to make the whole house believe. What faith! Not so much for me.