Revelation 21: 1-6a

New Resources

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2016 to 2019

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • The Only Cure for Fainting Faith

    by Phil Bloom
    To reach the New Jerusalem, God gives us a special food. A famous story can help understand the food God gives us. Some of you have read The Lord of the Rings or seen the movie. It's about a journey. Frodo, accompanied by Samwise, leaves his home, the Shire, to take the evil ring to Mordor, Mount Doom. There, a consuming fire can destroy the one ring. The journey seems impossible - so many obstacles, vicious opposition and suffering. What sustains Frodo and Sam on the journey? You probably remember - a wonderful bread called Lembos. A small piece gives renewed energy and strength. J.R.R. Tolkien - the author of Lord of the Rings - speaks about this Sacred Bread, the Eucharist. He actually received Communion daily. When his son was struggling with his faith, Tolkien wrote: "Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament....There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth..."
  • Sermon Starters (Easter 5C)(2019)

    by Doug Bratt
    In his book, A Room Called Remember, Frederick Buechner writes, “Who is this God and how is he with us? ‘The high and lofty One who inhabits eternity’ is the answer to the first. The One who is with us is the One whom none can look upon because the space-and-time human mind can no more comprehend fully the spaceless, timeless Reality of the One than the eyes of the blind can comprehend light. The One who is with us is the One who has made himself known at most only partially and dimly through the pantomime of nature and history and the eloquent but always garbled utterance of prophets, saints, and mystics.”
  • All Saints (B)(2018)

    by Richard Bryant
  • What Happens After We Die?

    by Jim Chern
    “What happens after we die?” This was the headline that was “trending” Monday afternoon alongside pictures of none other than actor Keanu Reeves, a film star whose latest movie, John Wick: Chapter 3, opened this weekend. I’ll be honest, I initially rolled my eyes and dismissed it thinking that this was going to go down some New-Agey, secular rabbit hole that I didn’t even want to look into, let alone start debating, discussing, or fighting about with people online. Nevertheless, my damn ADD got the better of me, and I hit the back arrow on the web browser to check out the story: Keanu Reeves was on The Late Show on CBS last week promoting his film, and as the host Steven Colbert often likes to do in these types of interviews, he’ll throw out a question that seems random and somewhat flippant as to elicit a dramatic reaction from his guest. Accordingly, Colbert asked Reeves, “What happens after we die?”, which was initially met with scattered laughter and amusement. Reeves then took a moment’s pause and simply said, “I know the ones who love us will miss us.” The audience awwed and Colbert gently reached out to shake Reeves’ hand, and you could tell that although the question was intended to be humorous, it very quickly turned into a deeply personal and intimate moment in what was an otherwise typical late-night TV interview. What many probably don’t know was that Reeves has faced tragedy throughout his career...
  • God's Home Is With Us

    by Bob Cornwall
    This vision of the old becoming new is revealed in the final volume of C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series. In The Last Battle, Lewis describes how the Old Narnia, the Narnia we encounter in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, comes to an end. Old Narnia faces its greatest challenge from within as treachery and deceit enters the land when a talking ape named Shift comes across the skin of a lion and convinces Puzzle the Donkey to become a false Aslan.
  • All Saints (B)(2018)

    by Rhonda Crutcher
    Near the end of the 5th Harry Potter Book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix comes a scene that has been burned into my memory ever since I first read it. A fierce battle is ensuing in the Ministry of Magic between members of the Order of the Phoenix–good wizards–and a group of Death Eaters–followers of the evil wizard Voldemort. They are fighting over a particular prophecy, contained in a glass orb, that both sides need desperately. The battle takes place in a room described as sort of an amphitheater, with tiers of rows sloping down to a round stage at the bottom. Although the room is largely dark, on the top tier are several doors that open into a lighted space. The battle is fierce with death curses flying, hexes blocked, and glass prophecies breaking all around. Chaos reigns. While adult members of the Order join in the fight, the side of good is mostly represented by Harry and his school-aged chums, none of whom is yet a full-fledged wizard with thoroughly developed magical abilities. The battle rages. People are injured. Several Order members barely escape death. For a brief time Harry’s friend and foil, the hapless Neville Longbottom, is even tortured. Things are not looking good for the Order; they are outnumbered and out-powered. But then . . . . then a glorious thing happens. Dumbledore arrives.
  • Time and Eternity

    by John Kavanaugh, SJ
    There is a verse, so common it is attributed to many authors, which goes: Time is too slow for those who wait. Time is too fast for those who fear. Time is too long for those who mourn. Time is too short for those who rejoice. But for those who love, Time is eternity.*
  • I Make All Things New

    by Terrance Klein
    He has many critics, as a man and a moviemaker, but in his movie “The Passion of the Christ” (2004) Mel Gibson reset a line of Scripture, and, in that act of artistry, revealed the deepest of truths. Here’s the scene. Mary sees her son Jesus fall under the weight of his cross. She remembers running to her child when he fell. Despite the crowd and his captors, she races to her adult son. Raising his bloodied face from the earth, she offers the greatest of comfort, though it is only the words, “I am here.” Jesus sees her, and Mr. Gibson moves a line from the Book of Revelation to this encounter. Panting, Christ responds, “See, Mother, I make all things new.”
  • Defiant Requiem

    by Jim McCoy
    between 1941 and 1944, a young Czech composer named Rafael Schacter led fellow prisoners at the Nazi concentration camp at Terezen in 16 performances of Verdi’s Requiem. Schacter taught the singers the Requiem by rote from a single score. The day after the first performance, nearly half of the 150 choir members were sent to Auschwitz. Schacter recruited and taught other singers for 15 additional performances, until he himself died on a forced march to Auschwitz in 1944. American Maestro Murry Sidlin learned of this story in 1994, and it has shaped the direction of his life. He became the creator of Defiant Requiem Foundation, whose musical performances and education have raised over $10 million in funding for Survivors and Holocaust education. The centerpiece of the Foundation’s work is a performance of Verdi’s Requiem, interspersed with video testimonials and narration of some of the original singers at Terezen...
  • Easter 5C (2019)

    by Brent Neely
    Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth? Ooh, heaven is a place on earth They say in heaven, love comes first We’ll make heaven a place on earth Ooh, heaven is a place on earth. In 1987 Belinda Carlisle released the song “Heaven is a Place on Earth,” and unknowingly gave theologians and pastors a great song to use when discussing the topic of heaven, especially in light of the book of Revelation. There are a few ways this song mirrors our epistle text for this Sunday: Revelation 21:1-6. It speaks of love having primacy in heaven, which the text shows us as it talks about there being no more death, mourning, crying, or pain. The whole text shows us the ways in which God loves us and is making all things new for us. Another way in which this song mirrors our text is the primary one I want to focus in on. “Ooh, heaven is a place on earth!” Possibly without realizing it, Belinda Carlisle did a better job talking (or well, singing) about heaven then a lot of Christians in the last few centuries have...
  • The New Jerusalem: A Vision of Hope

    by David Russell
    Since it is now football season, I am allowed to quote Vince Lombardi, the great football coach. He once said: Good football coaches have in the back of their mind a picture of a perfectly executed offensive play, the perfectly run defensive formation. Although the coach has never seen a group of players execute it perfectly, still the coach has in his mind a vision of what it would look like if everyone did it correctly. This is the vision that John gives us. A vision of the day when the kingdom of God will break through in all its fullness, a vision of a future we have with God when everything will be made right.
  • Let's Put Christmas Back into New Year's

    by Carl Wilton
    In her book Becoming Wise, Krista Tippett — who hosts public radio’s religious-affairs show, On Being — says something very useful about hope. She draws a distinction between hoping and wishing. Much of what trades under the name of hope, in the secular culture, is little more than wishing. Yet, hope, Tippett writes, “has nothing to do with wishing. It references reality at every turn and reveres truth…. Hope, like every virtue, is a choice that becomes a practice that becomes spiritual muscle memory. It’s a renewable resource for moving through life as it is, not as we wish it to be.”

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • All Things New

    by Robert Allred
  • A Life, a Whole Life, and Nothing But a Life – So Help Us, God!

    by John Auer
    I saw an e-mail story entitled “Getting to Heaven” -- “I asked my children in my Sunday School class, ‘If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would I get into heaven?’ “’NO!’ the children all answered. “If I cleaned the church everyday, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would I get into heaven?’ “Again, the answer was ‘NO!’ “’Well,’ I continued, ‘then how can I get to heaven?’ “In the back of the room, a 5 yr. old by shouted out, ‘You gotta be dead!’” That is one word, at least, about All Saints Sunday: For some things in life, we just got to be dead! We got to remember the dead -- to value the ways they not only “die for us,” as we say, but they live for us!...
  • In the Meantime

    by Kate Cudlipp
  • I Ain't Going to Hell

    by Art Ferry, Jr.
  • Imagine

    by Kate Huey
    (includes several quotes)
  • Heaven Is Our Home

    by Robert Kruschwitz
  • Utopia

    by Anne Le Bas
  • A Fine '99

    by David Leininger
  • The God of New Beginnings

    by David Leininger
    Do you remember the Calvin & Hobbes cartoons that used to run in the newspaper? In one that appeared at this time of year, Hobbes, Calvin's stuffed tiger, asks, "Did you make any resolutions for the New Year?" Calvin comes unglued and shouts, "NO! I'm fine just the way I am! Why should I change? In fact, I think it's high time the world started to change to suit ME! I don't see why I should do all the changing around here. If the New Year requires resolutions, I say it's up to everybody else, not me! I don't need to improve! Everyone ELSE does!" Calvin then takes a breath and asks, "How about you? Did you make any resolutions?" Hobbes has this flabbergasted look on his face and says, "Well, I had resolved to be less offended by human nature, but I think I blew it already."...
  • God's Home

    by David Martyn
    I want to share with you a reading and the image of a mother; the mother may be your mother, it may be yourself or, as Julian of Norwich might add, it could be Jesus as a mother. The young mother set her foot on the path of life. “Is this the long way?” she asked. The guide said: “Yes, and the way is hard, and you will be old before you reach the end of it, but the end will be better than the beginning.” But the young mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams; and the sun shone on them, and the young Mother cried, “Nothing will ever be lovelier than this.” Then the night came, then the storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said, “Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come.” And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary. But at all times she said to the children, “A little patience and we are there.” So the children climbed, and when they reached the top they said, “Mother, we would not have done it without you.”...
  • A Heavenly Wedding

    by David Martyn
  • Where There's Vision, There's Hope

    by Philip McLarty
    William Barclay tells the story about a young doctor in England in the 19th Century. One summer he set out on a backpacking trip across Europe. He hiked for days on end, sleeping under the stars at night. In time, his hair and beard grew long, and his clothes became tattered and worn. One day he took a bad fall and broke his leg. He lay helpless for days before anyone stumbled across him. By then, he was barely alive. They rushed him to the hospital where two older doctors examined him. He was in pitiful condition. One said to the other in Latin, "Poor bloke. He's about had it. We'd do him a favor to let him die." The young doctor was weak, but he heard every word. When he did, he looked up and replied – also in Latin – "Never call a man worthless for whom Christ has died!" We're all guilty of judging a book by its cover...
  • I Just Can't Imagine

    by John Pavelko
    In 1971 after the most popular rock group in history disintegrated into a cacophony of internal jealousy and arguing, one member of the group released a solo that not only became an immediate hit. John Lennon wrote Imagine there's no Heaven It's easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky Imagine all the people Living for today Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too Imagine all the people Living life in peace The Rolling Stone magazine called it the third greatest song ever written. When the Liverpool airport was named after Lennon, a phrase from the song, "above us only sky", was painted on the ceiling of the terminal...
  • All Things New

    by Michael Phillips
  • A New Heaven and a New Earth

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
  • Time to Get Wet

    by Leonard Sweet
    ["The governor of Washington state just signed a new series of 'sin taxes' into effect. The items being taxed include the usual suspects: tobacco products and beer (though NOT beer produced by micro-breweries). But there is a new sinful category: you can now add 'snack food' to the roster of iniquity..."]
  • A New Heaven, A New Earth

    Narrative Sermon by Pamela Tinnin
  • Something to Look Forward To

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Rufus Jones tells the story about the great Hellgate Bridge that was being built over the East River in New York. Just when one of the central piers of the bridge was to go down to its bedrock foundation, the engineers came upon an old derelict ship, lying imbedded in the river mud that was in the way. No tugboat could be found that was able to remove the derelict ship from its ancient bed..." and another illustration)
  • A Transparent Faith

    by Keith Wagner
  • Vision and Hope

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
  • No Such Luck

    by Carlos Wilton
    ("She was driving along the bridge in her Mazda minivan, when she heard a loud crack. She saw the roadway collapsing in front of her, like a wave...")

Other Resources from 2019

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2016 to 2018

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2013 to 2015

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2009 to 2012

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from the Archives

Children's Resources

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

The Classics

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Currently Unavailable