6On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
"Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
I have only been to California once, and while I am too fond of snow to ever consider living there, I found myself drawn to the warmth and ubiquity of the sun, and to the air scented with citrus and sea. I visited in February, leaving behind me a Midwestern winter full of snow, sleet, and cold. Compared to the monochromatic Minnesotan snow and sky, California was bright and alive with color. The grass was green, and seemed greener than green. The sky and sea were blue, the trees were thick with leaves. But not only leaves. Tree branches also hung low with oranges and lemons, symbols of sunshine, sweetness, and abundance.
The trip from cold, gray Minneapolis to bright, warm Santa Barbara was something like Dorothy's cinematic journey from black-and-white film to the technicolor land of Oz.
The boldness of lush creation - the hues, scents, and abundance that come to mind when I think of spring and of sun and of fruit and of waxy green leaves - this is my picture of God's promise of new creation.
The new heavens and new earth will come, alive and growing, green and restored, thick with life and bright with fruitfulness. The old will pass away - the dry, cracked, crumbling soil of this earth and our own dry, cracked, and crumbling bodies. And the splendor of the glory of the God will be revealed in the rich abundance of life in this new creation. It is Isaiah's image of the heavenly feast, where the bread and wine of anticipation and memory will be replaced with the full fruits of God's life and abundant love.
All Saints Day stills our grieving hearts with the image of the fullness of God revealed in the meeting of heaven and earth, where life is renewed, creation is revived, and the heart of God comes home to rest among us mortals as the tree of life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations.