Sunday, May 20, 2012

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:9-14 and 18-27  Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."  And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from G-d.  It has the glory of G-d and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal.  It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates and on the west three gates.  And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The wall is built of jasper, while the city is pure gold, clear as glass.  The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.  And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, each of the gates is a single pearl, and the street of the city is pure gold, transparent as glass.  I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the L-rd G-d the Almighty and the Lamb.  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of G-d is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.  Its gates will never shut by day”and there will be no night there.  People will bring into it the glory and honor of the nations.  But nothing unclean will enter it, nor will anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

This is a long passage, without a doubt, but I love
the description.  I love the beauty of gems.  To try to see what is said in this passage I looked up the jewels on Google Images.  I understand the names of the gems are given because it was an to attempt to show us something that could not be described accurately. It is beyond the words we have, beyond what we could imagine. With that in mind, these are a few ideas given by the passages and the illustrations I found.

There are many kinds and colors of jasper. As I looked through the many types, I found jasper to be one of my favorites because of the incredible variety and mix of colors. One I like is a reddish-brown, opaque gem with darker, warm markings.  What kind of jasper could be as clear as crystal? The city is made of gold, but also clear as glass.  Certainly, there will be things in the New Jerusalem that are unknown to us now.  

Sapphire is a translucent, brilliant blue.  Though a dark color, it reminds me of light.  

Agate comes in many beautiful shades and designs.  Each one is different from another, with individual patterns, colors, and shadings. The agates are art created by this living, moving planet. 

Emerald is a clear, bright green that glows. Remember the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz? 

Onyx is most often known as black stone, with a black so deep it seems you could fall into it.  

Carnelian is described as a fiery red color that, to me, seems to burn bright.
Chrysolite is a transparent light, delicate and pale green.  

Beryl is a green similar to the chrysolite, but with a little more depth to it.  

Topaz can be many colors but the most well known color is a light amber. I do like the pink topaz, perhaps even more than the amber. 

Chrysoprase is green, rich shade and reminds me of jade.    
Jacinth is a bright, hot, transparent orange.    
Amethyst, the most beautiful of all, is a transparent and bright purple.  

Even looking at these images of the jewels, I cannot imagine the beauty and splendor of the foundation of the temple.  Each of the gates is a single pearl.  That I can imagine!  Not quite white, polished, with a sheen to it, a pearl is so beautiful.  The city's temple is the Lord God the Almighty, the Lamb.  He is the source of light in the city, a city that will have no night.  Of all the things in this passage, the hardest to imagine is that there will be nothing unclean, nor will anyone practice any evil thing.  Living in this world, where sin and ugliness is everywhere we turn, the purity and holiness of God and His New Jerusalem I cannot fathom. Come, Lord!

As the Deer...

Psalm 42:1
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.

(Picture from Google Images)

To know me fully, all anyone would need to know is this one verse.  In this Psalm, the deer has been running through the meadow.  She has been running hard and fast. Was she being chased?  She is tired, but most of all, she is panting, thirsting, yearning for that drink from the stream.  That one drink will renew her strength, bringing her comfort and relief.  My soul seeks that same long, quenching drink of God, and seeks it anew each morning. Without His touch that weariness will never become rest, my longing will never be stilled. I search for my God in His Word, in worship, in music.  I look for Him, and He is always there, waiting to be found.  There, in that moment of finding Him again, I have my comfort and my thirst is satisfied.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A New Psalm

With thanks to Laurie Kolp ( ) for introducing me to this idea: erasure poetry.  
For my first try I've chosen my favorite psalm, and gone through it, crossing every word that I have not chosen.  From the words unmarked, I then create my psalm.

Psalm 95

1 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.

6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7 for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,

    as you did that day at Massah
in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested me;
    they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
    I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
    and they have not
known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

Sing joy!
Shout of salvation
music and song:
The Lord is King!
Mountain peaks
dry land
worship the Lord.
Hear His voice
in the wilderness:
"Know My ways."