Regeneration is a buzz word and concept in our time. Taking somewhere that was derelict and restoring it to use again.
Being originally from Sheffield, an example that springs to mind, love it or loathe it, is Meadowhall, a mecca to the god of retail, built on a site previously occupied by steelworks.
In the early 1980s much of Sheffield, and the lives of the people there, were decimated by the closure of many of the steelworks, played out in realistic fashion in the film The Full Monty.
This was very much a part of my formative years. But Meadowhall has replaced that. From an awful time in the life of a city and it’s inhabitants, and the ruins of a city and a workforce, has come something new. A huge shopping centre may not be much replacement for jobs for men used to working in heavy industrial labour, but it is at least doing something for the economy of that area. From the death of steel, some new life has come. From distress has come opportunity. The area is unrecognisable from the ghost town of empty industry it had become.
The New Heaven and the New Earth
21 I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and so had the sea. 2 Then I saw New Jerusalem, that holy city, coming down from God in heaven. It was like a bride dressed in her wedding gown and ready to meet her husband.
3 I heard a loud voice shout from the throne:
God’s home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. 4 He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever.
5 Then the one sitting on the throne said:
I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted. 6 Everything is finished! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give water from the life-giving fountain to everyone who is thirsty.
This has long been a favourite passage of mine. It is a beautiful vision, and speaks to me of hope and peace.
This is heaven – not God sitting on some fluffy cloud playing his harp, but God coming to live with his people. And not just live with us, but wiping all tears from our eyes. I can just picture God coming, putting his arm around me, and making everything better. All the pain; all the tears; all the sorrows; all the losses; all those things that no one else could put right, however much they wanted to – not brushed under the carpet, but taken by God and dealt with forever. And the promise that there will be no more.
Whatever has happened in our lives – God is going to make something new – that is his promise. Not a repair, not a patch, something entirely new. It may or may not be what we are expecting, but his promise is that he will do it.
I don’t know about you, but I could do with God getting a tissue and wiping away the tears I still cry, and truly making things new. That’s the hope I cling to.
Thank you God
for your promises.
That there will be a new day
and a new way.
That you will come
and dwell amongst us,
holding us tight,
wiping our tears,
taking our fears,
and those things that cause us to feel like that.
That they will be gone,
and in place of desolation and despair,
will be your ways.
Thank you for the hope,