The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! - Revelation 22:20 (NRSV)
The coming of Jesus’ Lordship is not an inviting concept for many people. It portends the exclusion and condemnation of non-Christians for some people. And for some others, the coming of Jesus’ Lordship brings to mind a rigid state of theocracy in which diversity is forbidden.
But the biblical context from which we lift the phrase “Come, Lord Jesus” is not really what many people imagine. That context—Revelation 22—speaks of a pristine river of life that emanates from one Source and flows through the central street of a city that is illuminated by love. That river nourishes the roots of a tree that gives life…not to a select few...but to people from every nation and culture.
The only thing that might exclude anyone from this city is a refusal to recognize the oneness of humanity. Because every person, from every nation, must eat the leaves from the same tree of life, that’s nurtured by the same river of life, that emanates from the one Source of life. In this city, there is no life that is severed from community.
“Come, Lord Jesus” is nothing short of a plea for the renewal of humanity. It is the corrective to a society ravaged by gun violence and mass shootings. And it’s an indictment of those who elevate the relative distinctions of nation and tribe to the status of ultimate allegiance.
If you can imagine yourself in a better human community, then the invitation of the Advent season is to explore the possibilities and the promises of Christ’s coming. “Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus.”
Bring us to the same river. Feed us by the same fruit trees. Renew us by the same spirit. So that all people might have life together.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.