An extract rom the Dean's sermon for the commemoration of All Saints and All Souls:
Rather than imagining a damaged and decaying world being left behind, John the Seer has a vision of a new heaven and a new earth. Life as we know it is renewed, not replaced with some ethereal spiritual existence outside of our bodies.
Such a vision is a renewal of creation rather than a shift to some other kind of reality.
Of course, this too is a metaphor, an image. But notice how this unfamiliar image works.
Rather than encourage us to discount the value of life in this world, this vision invites us to imagine our world renewed and something even more significant: God relocates from heaven to earth.
This world matters.
Our life here matters.
How we care for and sustain this world matters.
Even after our death, our future is inextricably linked with the future of this world.
Our future in the presence of God is not because we escape this world, but because God chooses to make this world—and our company—the place where God is to be found.
Yes, this is just another metaphor, another image. But metaphors shape the way we see reality, and I hope this metaphor changes the way you think about our loved ones who have already gone before and also changes the way we think about how we choose to live here and now.
We do not treat the world as a single-use plastic bag, but as a precious thing called into existence by love, sustained every day by the love that pulses at the very heart of the universe, and beloved by God who chooses to become a part of this word: Emmanuel, God with us, God among us.
That is a truth to live by, on both sides of death. Emmanuel.
The full text of this sermon, along with a link to a video of the sermon being delivered, is available online.