Shall We Gather by the River?
... 22Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through 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. 3Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Heroclitis, the philosopher of Ephesus (modern day Turkey) lived through the fall of Israel to the Assyrian empire. His thoughts helped form Western thinking. Without Heroclitis, there is no Socrates, there is no Plato. The idea that things change… that’s Heroclitis. It’s hard for us to imagine thinking before that understanding. We also can thank Heroclitis for the idea of the logos… that there is a first word, a channel, a force from which all other things come. The entire gospel of John is based on that premise. Another thing that Heroclitis said,
“no one enters the same river twice,
for even as you step into fresh waters, new waters are flowing upon you.”
I began to think of Heroclitis when I read the end of Revelation… Did you hear it in the text? The sea has disappeared and in its place… a river. This new life is dynamic, not static… it’s not life at a beach house, it’s life on the banks of a river. The crowd has gathered around a moving river. The picture is of life in motion.
God says, “I am making all things new.” Present tense and continuous. God is making… not God will make, not God made already… but God is in the process of continually making.
Sounds like a river, doesn’t it? Something that’s in constant motion. Constantly new. Life in this new kingdom is dynamic, not static… it’s not life at a beach house, it’s life on the banks of a river. We embark on a course of life that constantly welcomes new waters. Is that what it means to be Easter people?
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