“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation Chapter 22.1-3)
In the Book of Revelation, John describes God’s kingdom as a garden city, full of rivers and trees. He reminds us that the world we live in is part of God’s purpose. As we see God’s Kingdom break through as the sunrise, the Earth itself will be transformed into how God wants it to be.
So John sees a city where there are riverbanks rather than roads. Under stacked windows branches climb and between bricks saplings spread towards light. Hands reach into abundances of oranges and hazelnuts, acorns and apples. Afternoons are full of wind waved quietness. Sons return home and daughters are lifted into their fathers arms. In the leaf green sunlight they remember at last how God formed them from clay. They forget to teach their children war, forget to show them how to hurt. They return to where they were before, held in the palm of God’s hand.
Of course, the nations have not yet gathered in peace, our cities are still choked with pollution, green replaced with grey. John insists that we, who know of God’s love, who glimpse the beauty of his kingdom, must be the ones to help to create this city, a place of green peace. As the Bible ends we step into space and future, and as a community we begin to tell the rest of the story, to begin to grow God’s kingdom.
So this week think about the town we live in, as well as the larger cities nearby. Green space in towns and cities is important. Trees and plants improve the quality of the local environment, reducing air pollution and noise. There is also evidence that green space is good for mental health — benefiting those with depression and dementia and reducing anxiety.
Are there ways to make Ripon greener? You could plant a bee or insect friendly plant in your garden or yard. Perhaps consider replacing an area of lawn with shrubs or grasses as a haven for wildlife.
Find more ideas and inspiration in the #livelent booklets available in the shop, or search for the app.