Bringing the Text to Life

Better City, Better Life Revelation 21:1-6

Better City, Better Life

Sounds like a campaign slogan from the last mayoral race.

Revelation 21 is a passage with familiar language. No more tears. No more death. No more pain. Comforting words for the grieving and tested.

But the text also has rich and underexplored imagery. John is trying to give us a glimpse of paradise to come — and it isn’t fluffy clouds, angels and harps.

It’s a bustling city. A New Jerusalem.

But heaven can wait, or so we’re told. There’s a cultural connection to this text that’s also focused on the emerging city. The 2010 World Expo is being held in Shanghai, and the event theme is “Better City, Better Life.”

Expo organizers just came up with a big sermonic idea.

According to their Web site, “In 1800, only two percent of the global population lived in cities, but by 1950, the figure had risen to 29 percent, and by 2000, almost half the world population had moved into cities. Despite all its glories, there is no denying that the city today, because of high-density living patterns, faces a...

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