And one day when the sky rolls back on us
Some rejoice and the others fuss
Cause every knee must bow and tongue confess
That the Son of God is forever blessed
His is the Kingdom, we’re the guests
So put your voice up to the test
Sing ‘Lord, come soon’
– Josh Garrels, Farther Along
Lord, come soon. This is the cry of my heart when I think of wars being fought around the world, refugees fleeing their homes, the poor dying of hunger and disease. Lord, come soon. Not only suffering on an extreme level but also day-to-day hardships and troubles: fighting between friends, feeling defeated by sin, struggling to find joy. Lord, come soon.
While Josh Garrels’ song, Farther Along, captures well the desire of my soul and the hopeful anticipation I feel when in the midst of pain and confusion, I know that my time here on earth is precious and meant to be used purposefully. I know this because I can see this message throughout scripture, starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation: we are co-creators with God fulfilling his command, “be fruitful and multiply…have dominion over the earth;” and we are to be co-laborers with Christ in the restoration of the earth and its people.
In Revelation, John gives us a picture of what the restoration will be like when Christ returns. He says,
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.” (Rev 22:1-3)
This incredible picture of the river of the water of life and the tree of life provides beautiful imagery of the work we carry out here on earth (though imperfectly). The river of life and the tree of life work together to bear fruit and heal the nations. If the restoration is the final realization of what God intends for His people, then we are given a good idea of what He intends for us here on earth in the “now, but not yet”. While we will never be able to perfectly duplicate what is to come, we are still called to take part in this work of God.
Garrels sings “His is the Kingdom and were the guests,” and while he is singing of the Kingdom that is to come with the return of Christ, His Kingdom is already at work here on earth. We are working toward the fulfillment of the Kingdom. This is why we cannot just sit around and wait for Heaven – we have to get our hands dirty. This means that we are called to be a people that does not block off flowing rivers of life that bring flourishing. We are to fight against injustice, poverty and apathy. Through our work we can bear fruit for the Kingdom and fulfill the purposes God intended for us.
Baylee Molloy is a graduate of the 2015-2016 Capital Fellows Program.
Image: freeimages/Alicia Jo McMahan