Belfast from Above


My family and I did the big rickety wheel last weekend... Belfast's miniature London Eye... We'd been talking about doing it since before Christmas, so it's a good job it didn't roll on elsewhere at the end of March as was apparently the original plan. Anyway, it's great, you should try it. Even Sally enjoyed it and she usually gets vertigo putting on high heels!

But enough of the advert, while I was up at the top of the wheel I realised how much has changed over the past 10 years in this city I call home, and I also remembered this exerpt from the show "Healing of the Nations" based on the book of Revelation that I wrote for New Irish Arts and Evangelical Alliance back in 2002... I considered re-writing it and taking the top of the big rickety wheel as the viewpoint... But then I thought, perhaps I should leave well alone.

John: And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, clear as crystal.
Everyman: I stood on top of the Black Mountain and our city sat in the hollow of the hills, cloaked in smoke and mist.
John: I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
Everyman: I saw a city filled with churches, some full, some empty… pinpricks of light in a dark city… The faithful huddled inside, hands clasped in prayer, or raised in praise… and the doors bolted for fear of the world outside…
John: On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it.
Everyman: A city of which welcomes others but is at war with itself…
John: Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Everyman: For every life a name, and every name on a list. On monuments, on computers, in little black books, alive and lost and somewhere in between… hit lists, black lists… lists of the unclean, unsound and unforgiven… Those whom we keep outside…
John: Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
Everyman: The River Lagan cuts through our city like a scar… But there are other scars that criss-cross our city… Some can be seen… stark walls… but others are hidden in human hearts. And we are all on one side or the other… The River that gave birth to this city, the Farset, is hidden, buried beneath its streets… And the trees of this city bear no fruit… indeed their leaves fall prematurely to the ground to be blown down the streets, to form drifts of decay… This city seems cursed…
John: No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

from Healing of the Nations © David A. Campton 2002

Sadly, one of the things that the intervening years have shown is that we aren't even very good at welcoming others either, as our reputation for sectarianism has transmuted into racism. But I hold on to that picture of the redeemed city in Revelation, and pray that I might see some of that here and now and not just hereafter.

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