Flowers showing up in the sidewalks of life
Diamonds appearing in the sands of time
Light shining in unexpected places—
surprising others on the path.
Yellow roses instead of dandelions
Strawberries in place of thistles
Peach trees where sumac once stood—
leaving others wondering how.
Stars shining in the dark of night
Gold dust glistening on blackest coal
Jewels reflecting “sonlight”—
catching others’ attention.
Is it God’s new heaven and new earth?
The most beautiful creation that will ever be?
Is it Jesus’ new order and society?
The most beautiful community that can ever be?
In the longest sermon recorded in the Bible, Jesus painted an amazing picture of what he came to create. It was to be a new order and society—unprecedented, unequaled, untarnished, unstoppable. He called it his “kingdom.” He said the members of this new order would love their enemies; would rejoice when persecuted; would be the salt and light of the whole world; would be as perfect as the heavenly Father is. Unbelievable! And human terms, unachievable.
How can we be light-bearers in the dark of night? Gold dust in the midst of sin as black as coal? Flowers on the well-worn sidewalks of life? How can we “shine like stars in the universe”? (Phil 2:15)
It can only happen when there’s something on the inside that makes possible what’s on the outside—when we’re changed from the inside out. Only when our hearts are so filled with the thoughts, words, and actions of Jesus himself can we become messengers of healing, models of love, ambassadors of grace—reproducing ourselves in others. It’s the most beautiful community that can ever be.
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:16). Get the point? When the saints go undercover (or under the sidewalk, or under a bushel), we can’t fulfill the most important role Jesus has for us. If his kingdom is to accomplish all he intended, he desperately needs us to be diamonds—even if in the rough; peach trees—even if only saplings; stars—even if not always shining perfectly.
“May your kingdom come, Lord; may your will be done; may our lives bring you honor, advance your kingdom, and help to accomplish your will—on earth, as it is in heaven.
(Oh, and regarding the beauty of the new heaven and new earth, see Revelation 21:1—22:5.)