Preaching through Revelation has been a great challenge, especially with the descriptions that John uses in sharing his vision of those things which earthly language cannot hope to adequately portray. When I reached Revelation 21's passage on the New Jerusalem coming down, I knew I'd met my challenge. There is nothing quite like the Scriptures alone for doing it justice, so I opted to build a sermon around the reading of the Word, music related to the theme, and art in the form of pastel chalk on textured mat board.
I "painted" my interpretation of the descriptions while the Scriptures were being read by selected members, and as....
For music, the songs "The Holy City" - "Heaven Came Down" - "When We All Get to Heaven" - "Heavenly Sunlight" and "Jerusalem" were used to highlight the service.
It was my first attempt at a chalk drawing before a group in a confined time, but I found that the drawing I opted to use fit the normal time I usually plan for my sermon on Sunday mornings. The response of the congregation? Well, my planned-for experience was not disappointing - their comments indicated that the different approach and visualizing the Scriptures was a refreshing change of pace.
As I told the congregation in my introduction to the service, there was no way to fully describe the New Jerusalem on the small sheet, so I selected just a portion of the corner of the "city" wall. Imagine trying to paint the whole of John's description on one canvas! Revelation 21 describes this magnificient city of the redeemed of all the ages as being 1500 miles long, 1500 miles wide and 1500 miles high. (To get an idea of the size, imagine a city that stretches from Arizona eastward to almost the Alantic coast, and from the Canadian border to almost the southern tip of Texas!) And it's walls w 240 feet high, with 12 gates, 3 on a side, will each be attended by an angel. Now that's a city to look forward to!
One commentator's evaluation indicated that given the projection of the numbers of believers from all ages who will reside there, each might have the equivalent of 75 acres, "cubed", as their "room" in the forevers of eternity. Jesus did say that in His Father's house are many mansions or rooms and that He was going to prepare them for His disciples. (John 14:2)
In the words of the songwriter of "Jerusalem":
"Jerusalem, I want to walk your streets that are golden
And I want to run where the angels have trod
Jerusalem, I want to rest on the banks of your river
In that city, city of God!"
Consider this. This world with the calamities of nature's rebellion against the curse brought by man's sin gives many little hope of life without fear. Couple this with the outright damage man brings to man and the earth through his continued rebellion against the God Who gave him life and a pristine world to dominate (not destroy), and life becomes for many an impossible task. It is in this, however, that God's Word gives us a hope that can conquer every fear and be a source to overcome every task. Can we not take joy each day in the coming new creation God has promised to those who would trust Him and accept His grace-filled gift of eternity in His New Jerusalem?
It is my prayer that you will. Be encouraged, my friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ! I'll see you here, there, or in the air on the way! Praise the Lord Who promises!