Sarah Henrich: The Bible is full of images and predictions about the coming of a time when God's mercy and justice would be all in all — when life would be blessed with abundance and peace, the quieter joys of a modest life, and the exuberant joys implied by weddings, banquets and feasts of love. For people who believe God loves them and God's whole creation, it makes so much sense to long for the blessings of God's reign.
God is the creator who promises over and over again to redeem God's people from the fear of enemies, from wretched servitude, poverty, captivity and the tyranny of diseases, and from the suffering inherent in life. Since God promises to do justice and promises blessings, those who trust in God's power and love but live in the real world are forced to think about the end-times. After all, things can't just come to an end as they are now, can they?
In the real world we catch glimpses of the joy of living a godly life, but the glimpses only sharpen our longing for God to make this creation right or to usher us into some new and wonderful place in another dimension or time.
It has certainly struck me, as we've thought about this topic, that our speculations about the end-times may become more sophisticated, but the wonder or hope or fear or whatever it is never goes away.
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