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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Willing to Die For

He will judge between the nations
   and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
   and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
   nor will they train for war anymore.
(Isaiah 2:4)

What was the last time you or your city “danced in the streets for joy”? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1006).

My deepest joy does not bring on dancing but tears. Thus, there is a touch of sadness in it. For joy is testimony to pain. A scripture passage that affects me this way is Revelation 21:1-4 (NIV).

A New Heaven and a New Earth

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Similar joy can come from seeing someone with severe handicaps embodying a triumphant spirit and raw courage, or attending a wedding, or witnessing the birth of a child, or even yes, watching a sentimental movie in which with the apparent slimmest of chances kindness prevails over cruelty. Such joy comes when hope prevails over great odds.

Such times are profoundly important because they validate hope and thus take on the nature of a symbol. They are in the end what most folks are willing to die for. We come to feel that cherished abstractions are, after all, more concrete and real than anything else. Joy comes when we see spiritual victory snatched from the jaws of nihilism.

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