In my sermon on Sunday I suggested that heaven is clearly made for progressive Christians because it isn’t about there and then; it is about here and now, too! That is why I love the passage in Revelation 21 that says, “Then the One seated on the throne said, ‘Behold I make all things new.'”
Notice that it doesn’t say, “Behold I make all new things.” This is not a fundamentalist image of apocalyptic destruction and rebuilding. It isn’t about wiping everything out and starting over. In this image of heavenly life, God isn’t making all new things, but is making all things new.
Progressives believe that, through things like education, economic opportunities, and social justice, people’s lives can be transformed and the human condition can be improved. Things can be made better; all things can be made new.
This is a progressive agenda asking us to cooperate with the Spirit in order to renew human life on earth to bring a bit of heaven here. We haven’t given up on humanity and made cutting taxes our sacrament, greater profits our life’s goal, or overpaid CEOS into our saints. We follow a poor rabbi who believed ALL people have a place in the family and City of God.
In the parable of resurrection that was the assigned Gospel lesson for Sunday, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but notice that we are the ones assigned to remove his grave clothes and set him free to live again. We cannot give life, but we can participate with the Spirit in setting people free to live.
As we enter full-tilt into another political season, I invite us to do so as progressive people of faith who believe that, by using tools like improved economic opportunities, better education for all children, and more equitable justice systems, our government can be a force for good bringing us closer to God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven. We must not abandon our faith to the idolatry of greed-based capitalism. All things can be made new.
Rev. Michael Piazza