Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Behold, I Make All Things New!"

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth was gone, and the sea is now no more.  And I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and he will dwell with them. And they shall be his people; and God himself with them shall be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat on the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new.

 The Apocalypse, Chapter 21

Over the years I have tried to memorize various Bible verses. I haven't been very good at holding onto them, because once I have them memorized I tend to neglect them and thus forget them. The only way to keep something memorized is to keep revisiting it on a regular basis. (I once memorized the entirety of 'The Raven' by Edgar Allen Poe, to recite at a dinner party. No way I could recite it now.)

I've been committing this verse to memory recently because I find it one of the most evocative of all Bible verses. I'm especially stirred by the words: "Behold, I make all things new". 

It has occurred to me that this might seem to contradict my traditionalism and love of all things old, on which subject I have often written here.

And yet-- it doesn't seem to at all. In fact, the sight of a Halloween bonfire or a Christmas tree, or the rhythms of the liturgy, somehow awaken in me the same atmosphere as this passage and those very words: "Behold, I make all things new". It's very strange. I think it has to do with the timeless as an image of the eternal.

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