Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The city vs. earth's cities...

When my husband and I went to see family for my brother's wedding last month, it involved lots of travel in and around a city.

In case you didn't know... we do not care much for cities. Or crowds. Or so much noise that you can't think straight. Or the air quality that had our stomachs started churning as soon as we hit the city. These country lungs and stomachs are not used to city smog!

And traffic!  It was terrible. By the time we'd been there two days, we'd realized that, in in the city, you have to multiply your travel time by 3-4 in order to make sure you're there on time. And that was the only way we managed to be on time for anything. Between backups, accidents, tunnels, and construction, there was just traffic, traffic, everywhere. I mean, out here in Ohio, if Google says it'll take 20 minutes to get somewhere, then you allow 20-25 minutes in case you get stuck behind a tractor or combine for a half mile or so. But you drive there, you park outside the building, and you're enter on time. Simple.

In the city, Google says 20 minutes, so you allow an hour or more. Then you wait in heavy traffic before a bridge or tunnel once or twice, you arrive at the location, then you drive around the block looking for a parking garage, then to go in the parking garage and drive in upwards circles for another several minutes, then you get out and consult a compass to find out which side of the parking garage you need to exit on to get to your restaurant because you're completely turned around, then you carefully take note of where you're leaving your car and you walk 5-10 minutes to your location...hopefully arriving there on time.

So we didn't like this city any more than we've ever liked any city, and we can't imagine living there. (Lord, thank you for not calling us to a city!)

And somewhere or other in that week when we were waiting in yet another backup, my husband said, “You know, it concerns me a bit that Heaven is a city.”
Everyone in the car laughed, but it seems rather interesting that I opened up Psalms the other day and found myself reading about Zion, the city of God.
Psalm 48
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
In the city of our God, His holy mountain.
Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth.
Is Mount Zion in the far north,
The city of the great king.
So of course I thought about the strangeness of thinking a city so beautiful, because here on earth, it is nature that is so beautiful.

And that's when it dawned on me.

I find nature beautiful and cities not beautiful (for the most part) because nature is God's creation. The ugly parts of cities are always the result of man. Not that man can't make anything beautiful (because we can, and cities do have their beautiful parts).  But when you drive through cities and see ugliness, that ugliness is always a byproduct of when, where, and how we humans have messed things up and/or things have run down. Trash. Pollution. Broken sidewalks (which don't have natural scavengers like broken trees do).

But... in heaven, nothing will have been messed up by God or sin or the imperfection of man.

The heavenly city—Zion—will, in fact, be something we have never ever seen before, with no trash and no broken sidewalks. There will be no homeless and no slums.... no angry drivers or car accidents.

It will be a city designed, built, and managed by God, and it will be unmarred by faulty hands. Zion is where the God who created the Alps and Himalayas... the Creator who formed coral reefs and the rainbow of fish who inhabit them... the Painter of sunsets and the Orchestrator of the Northern Lights...the Architect who gave man whatever paltry ability we may have to build a beautiful building...

Zion will be where this Designer and Artist turned His hand toward building a city.
I'm thinking that such a city might take my breath away as no city on earth ever has for anyone.
Let Mount Zion be glad,
Let the daughters of Zion rejoice
Because of your judgments.
Walk about Zion and go around her;
Count her towers;
Consider her ramparts;
Go through her palaces,
That you may tell it to the next generation.
For such is God,
Our God forever and ever;
He will guide us until death.                                                               

1 comments:

  • Tracey says:
    Monday, July 30, 2012

    Wonderful post!! If this city is where I think it is, I can totally agree with you. I had never been anyplace that was so overwhelmingly crowded!!! I thought I wanted to live there, but God lead me back to home (Ohio) & it's all I can do to visit family there. To ave been surrounded by so many people, I had never felt more lonely.

    I remember thinking it was so beautiful that I wished I could've seen it before man got his hands on it. Back when the beaches were pristine & clean. I know that's what Zion will be. :-)

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