Summary: Post-revival sermon, calling us to see in our midst the possibilities of the new Jerusalem -- a church/community built on the basis of the old one, where all persons of all backgrounds are invited by our people and where those with challenges are given he

My mother had the habit of walking with her eyes fixed on

the ground. Wherever we would go, my father and my

brother and I would be looking all around, enjoying what

there was to see, but mother would be plodding along behind

us, looking at the ground. We used to tell her, “You’re

missing it all. You cannot see the beauty of nature or the

majesty of the city just by concentrating on the sidewalks.”

She said that was the only way she could be sure she

wouldn’t stumble and fall. If she watched where she put her

feet, she wouldn’t stumble over anything or fall and hurt

herself. We went to New York once. Like you would expect

hillbilly Kentuckians to do, the three of us walked around

gazing up at all the tall buildings. Mother kept her eyes on

the ground. When we went home, the rest of us said, “New

York sure has tall buildings!” Mother said, “New York sure

has crowded sidewalks!”

Well, you can look down at the ground and be safe. Or you

can look up and see something wonderful, and run the risk of

a stumble. Which will it be? Which is it in your life? Are you

going to look down, watch your step, be safe, but miss the

glory of the sunset and the grandeur of the dawn? Or are

you going to stare at the stars and wonder what might be out

there, even if it means a misstep here and a tumble there?

The Bible counsels us to “look unto the hills, from whence

cometh our help.” Look up and live! It does not tell us to

turn our eyes downward or to focus our attention on the past.

Now I am well aware that some of us don’t have much

tolerance for novelty. We like the tried and true, not so much

because it really is true, but because it’s been tried, and we

know what it’s like. When you go to a restaurant, do you

read over the list of exotic dishes, some of which you cannot

even pronounce, and end up ordering meat and potatoes?

You like the tried and true. When you go to the library to

pick out a book, do you pick up one on a subject you know

nothing about, or do you just read one more from your

favorite author? You live here in the Washington area; when

you have free time, do you try a new exhibit at the art gallery,

do you find your way to a museum you’ve never seen before,

do you explore some out-of-the-way corner you don’t know?

Or do you just go back to the same old same old? When our

children were small, we were eager to expose them to all

there was to see and do. But the only thing they ever

wanted to do was to go up the Washington Monument! Let’s

go to the zoo today; no, daddy, we want to go up the

Washington Monument. Let’s see what’s in the Air and

Space Museum. Not unless we first go up the Washington

Monument. Always the same, no adventure in those kids!

Just like their grandmother, looking down, always looking

down. It’s safer that way. No risk, no fall, no stumble.

If that at all describes your life, you need revisioning. You

need to be led to look up and live. You need to see

something more than you’ve ever seen before. You need

new horizons, new vistas, new possibilities. Some people at

a certain age get their face lifted. Well, you and I need to

have our faith lifted. We need, in a word, to see heaven.

We need to see heaven! I don’t mean we need to hurry up

and die. I mean that we need a vision. You and I need to

catch a glimpse of heaven, so we know where we could be

headed. Now there’ll be some risks to take on the way. You

might stumble and fall. But oh, the destination! Oh, the

possibilities. I think it was Browning who said, “A man’s

reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”

The great visionary John, at the very end of his Revelation,

looked up from this earthbound life and saw what is to be,

saw what God wills to be. John saw a vision of something

he’d never seen before. A place whose streets he had not

walked. A town whose towers he had never scaled and

whose gates he had never entered. John painted an

extraordinary picture for us. A scene more graphic than any

artist can imagine. A landscape more awesome than any

architect can design. It was the new Jerusalem. A vision for

us to set our sights on. A revisioning. This is what we ought

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