The Heavenly City outshines Rome, beyond comparison.
There, instead of victory is truth;
instead of high rank, holiness.
Augustine, “City of God”
If you know me at all, you’ll know how my heart sings when I read things like this. Although I’m amazed and awe-struck by the variety and complexity of nature, and impressed by God’s creativity in inventing such an array of animals, birds, plants, geographical features, rocks and bacteria, it remains for me a very intellectual appreciation. I understand that it’s beautiful, but it doesn’t stir me.
If you want to touch my soul, set me down in the centre of a city. London for preference, but in an emergency any city will do. I love the bustle, I love the architecture, I love the displays of human creativity. The variety of human life God created, and the range of skills and gifts he gave them, and the richness of the things they have created using his tools stuns me.
Walk me down pretty much any London street and you’ll find me gazing around in awe as though I had never seen bricks before, let alone the shapes and patterns they can be arranged into. I’m often brought to tears by the beauty and majesty of it all, in a way that I have rarely been by nature.
People tell me the Garden of Eden was a wonderful place, and I’m sure it was. I’m overjoyed though when I’m reminded – as I was last weekend – that our ultimate home is not a garden but a city. The City. The most perfect city imaginable.
This one won’t be financed by corruption, driven by avarice or sustained by exploitation. It won’t have been built with the spoils of war or constructed on the wreckage of a defeated enemy stronghold.
It will be built, as Augustine wrote around 1600 years ago, on truth and sustained by holiness. It will be driven and infused by the New Song, the ‘hymn of praise to our God’ after which this blog is named.
I am relieved and thankful that heaven will not be, as Joel Stein once wrote: “…totally overrated… Clouds, listening to people play the harp…” For you nature-lovers out there, I’m sure there will be plenty of grass, mountains, rivers etc etc, but I for one am excited to see what a city should be like. If London is but a pale reflection…wow, it’s going to be AMAZING!