The Sea Is No More!
Rev. 21:1 ¶ Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
Rev. 21:2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev. 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them as their God;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
Rev. 21:4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
We are coming to the climax of the story of God. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. On this new earth there will no longer be any sea -- whether physically or metaphorically speaking. Could it be that the majority of the earth will no longer need to be covered by water? Or could it be that the sea had perpetually represented distress on the earth? In John's vision the sea had been the source of those who were the enemies of God and mankind. Will the source now be gone with the resultant peace among humanity? It would make sense, for God's plan is to come and to dwell among his people, and when he is present in the midst of his people, there is no place for a sea of tumult between God and his people. Instead, they are in a face to face, nose to nose relationship on a daily basis and all the things that the sea had done -- bring death, mourning, pain and tears -- will have evaporated. God will be on his throne among his people.
As a child we crossed the Atlantic ocean twice on ocean-liners. (Yes, I really am that old!) It was a great experience as we traveled from New York City to LeHarve, France, returning home to Europe after months of furlough in the United States. I remember those ships and for the most part, I have pleasant thoughts. On the other hand, I remember a day when we hit stormy seas -- rough water! All day the big ship rocked back and forth as the huge waves pounded us. The swimming pool was closed because as we bobbled in the ocean, the water of the pool would angrily shift back and forth, pouring over its boundaries and across the ship. It was a day in which you held on for dear life and wondered when it would all end.
There are seasons in life when we feel that we are adrift on the stormy seas of life. The wind whips up and the waves begin to rise and we feel battered on every side. Sometimes we wonder if we can ever make it! And then the "already" of the kingdom of God breaks in on us. We are able to catch a glimpse of what will be in the future, and begin to participate in this new heaven and new earth in a small way, even today. The Holy Spirit is here among us and unites us in a holy relationship with God now -- today. This means that in the seas of life, when we are being beaten by the storms, God can come into that space and remove the sea. Already, now, God wants to come and wipe the tears from our eyes.
Until Christ comes again the seas will exist and there will be the unrest of life, but we have the promise and the foretaste of the destruction of that sea when God breaks into the here and now. Hang on, for God is already with us. Yesterday in the church where I worshiped we concluded with this song -- a great reminder for you and for me as we make our way through life and the sea.
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.
The day will come when the sea will be no more, but until that day, we can already begin to experience the in-breaking of the new kingdom.
Lord, thank you that you ride the storms with us, and that you are victorious. Amen.