Written by: Bernard Wong (Assistant Professor (Theological Studies) and Associate Dean of China Graduate School of Theology, Board Member of CEDAR Fund)
Scripture reading: Revelation 7:9-12
Genesis described the diverse and rich world God created, and the future will be even more abundant. The apostle John was shown a vision concerning Christ’s second coming, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…” (Revelation 7:9) From the beginning of the world, God commanded human beings to be fruitful and increase in number, giving rise to different nationalities and languages. The eschatological vision brings us several reminders:
Firstly, diversity and abundance are “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Though many people and governments today are trying to ignore or silence voices that are different from theirs, God wants to preserve diversity. As Christians, we should also appreciate and protect those different from us.
Secondly, as people from different cultures and nationalities will unite as one before God, unity and reconciliation is the ultimate goal of God’s plan. Paul also said that when the times reach their fulfilment, He will “bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” (Ephesians 1:10)
Therefore, the present reconciliation and unity efforts will not be in vain; instead, we are His co-workers to bring reconciliation to the world.
Thirdly, since reconciliation is God’s work, God will tear down all obstacles and break down all barriers no matter how impossible reconciliation may appear. This does not mean that we need to do nothing. It means our effort to reconcile with one another is founded upon God’s work, though we do not know how and when complete reconciliation will be accomplished. Therefore, we do not need to see immediate results nor should we be afraid of difficulties. We only need to be God’s faithful peacemakers.
“[Y]our kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) This is how Jesus has taught us to pray. May the eschatological vision of reconciliation and unity be revealed in this world through His church.
＞ In today’s world, who seeks to destroy the reconciliation and unity of believers? Why do they do that?
＞ In conflict-stricken context, what traces of reconciliation and unity can you observe?
(Editor’s note: To understand CEDAR’s belief in “Beyond Feeding the Poor”, we launched a Christian devotional app “施予達仁” covering topics such as climate justice, social reconciliation, anti-human trafficking, etc. The articles from May to mid-August will focus on “Peace and Reconciliation”, including this article.)