"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." - Revelation 22:1-2
My wife's doomsday plans always begin with the basement sinks.
"The first thing I'd do is run downstairs and fill them before they cut off the water."
"Who is they?" I ask. She ignores me.
"That would give us enough water for a few weeks."
We watch a lot of post-apocalyptic movies. We know the drill. The destruction of the natural environment. The breakdown of human community. And, for some reason, a lot of randomly placed trash fires.
Preparing for that world means being ready for battle. "Us" versus "them."
But that's not the end we're headed toward. The City of God, Revelation says, is all crystal rivers and fruit trees and medicinal herbs. Very few trash fires.
What world are we preparing for?
It matters. You pack differently for vacation than you do for the front-line. You live differently when you're prepping for violent struggle than when you're moving to the City of God.
What's the first thing you would do if you heard the end was coming? Take a dip in the river of life? Gather some leaves for the healing of the nations? Strike the words "us" and "them" from your vocabulary? Let's get ready.
Omega, replace our visions of violence and fear with a future of healing and wholeness.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.