Sermon, 11.16.2008“Work for Its Renewal” Rev. Erik Bonkovsky Revelation 21:1-7
Often we subscribe to the belief of a pristine heaven in the faraway air, with angels and harps and such. And we focus on that place, giving up on the world around us and placing our hope on what's to come in heaven. But Christ invites us to make all things new. This means the world we're living in now. God wants us to work for the renewal of the current world, making his kingdom on Earth a reality.
This includes everyday things. The people and places around us. We work to renew these things based on our idea of how things should be. What you hope for ultimately informs how you live now. As Christians, we should participate in our culture. We shouldn't be cloistered off somewhere making "Christian" breath mints. A lot of times we define the Christian life all too narrowly, like we're in some Jesusland theme park where everything that's Jesus-brand is "good," and everything that's not Jesus-brand is "bad." If beauty and creativity and kindness come from places other than the Christian bookstore, aren't those things also from God? We need to allow ourselves to be blessed by all the goodness we see, not just the goodness from specially-marked boxes. God and His power are not contained within the term "Christian."
Everyday things should convey God's blessings just as much as "churchy" things. Within your neighborhood and on your block, the cameraderie amongst friends should inspire us. The books you read to kids. The songs you sing. The conversations you have. In all of our pursuits, if we seek truth and beauty, we are making it our own and making it new. For example, a musician in an industry that's all about marketing and entertainment can still seek truth and beauty in spite of the industry, and effectively bless those who hear his songs.
So let's apply these principals to the city we love and live in. You don't need to have your own personal plan for renewing RIchmond, you just need to know and see that God renews you. And if you're actively seeking truth and beauty in your surroundings, you can't help but participate in the renewal of this city.