City of God?

I offer this dialogue in the light of tonight's event in the Agape Centre as part of the 4 Corners Festival, where we are exploring the question "Is Christ Divided in this City?" through the stories of 4 church leaders from different corners of this city.
I originally wrote a version of this dialogue nearly 14 years ago for New Irish Arts and Evangelical Alliance and an event called "Healing of the Nations" based around the Book of Revelation. Sadly, after all these years it is still pertinent, indeed, I had to rewrite part of it regarding our welcome to others and hostility to ourselves, because recently we have demonstrated that our welcome to others is not as all embracing as it might be.
The ultimate question is, what vision do we have for our city? One shaped by doom, misery and despair? Or one shaped by the hope that we have in Christ?
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.
David:       I stood on top of the Black Mountain and our city sat in the hollow of the hills, cloaked in smoke and mist.
John:           The Holy City had a great, high wall with twelve gates...
David:       Our city has no wall round it but plenty criss-crossing it… livid scars of sectarian separation… with gates bolted shut each night…
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.
David:       We may be at odds with each other, but we welcome others, so long as they look like us, and speak our language and pray like us…
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 splendour into it.
David:        I saw a city filled with churches, some full, some empty… pinpricks of light in a dark city… The faithful huddled inside of a Sunday, hands clasped in prayer, or raised in praise… while the rest of the week, the doors are bolted and the lights are off for fear of who might come in…
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.
David:       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.
David:        The River Lagan cuts through heart of this city… but the river that gave it birth, gave it its name, the Farset, is buried beneath its streets…
John:          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.
David:       But the trees of this city bear no fruit… indeed their leaves fall prematurely 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.


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