Advent, Day 26

For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

—Matthew 24:27

Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God.

—Revelation 19:11–13

LOOK: Jesus Rides a White Horse by James B. Janknegt

Janknegt, James B._Jesus Rides a White Horse
James B. Janknegt (American, 1953–), Jesus Rides a White Horse, 2012. Oil on canvas, 18 × 36 in.

LISTEN: “Ride On, King Jesus,” African American spiritual | Performed by Olivet Nazarene University Proclamation Gospel Choir, 2018

Because this song was composed and transmitted orally, many lyrical variations exist. The lyrics used in this particular rehearsal performance are as follows:

Ride on, King Jesus!
No man can a-hinder thee
Ride on, King Jesus!
No man can a-hinder thee
No man can a-hinder thee

In that great gettin’-up morning
Fare thee well, fare thee well!
In that great gettin’-up morning
Fare thee well, fare thee well!

Gonna talk about the coming of the Savior
Fare thee well, fare thee well!
Gonna talk about the coming of the Savior
Fare thee well, fare thee well!

Lightning will be flashing
Thunder will be rolling
Trees will be bending
Trees will be bending

No man can a-hinder thee!

Advent, Day 16

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.”

—Revelation 21:2–5a

LOOK: The New Jerusalem by Sassandra

Sassandra_The New Jerusalem
Jacques Richard Sassandra (French, 1932–), The New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1–4a), 1970–80. Paper collage with AquaLac, 86 × 110 cm.

Jacques Richard, whose artist name is Sassandra, was born in 1932 to a French missionary family in Sassandra, Ivory Coast, where he spent his youth. Upon returning to France, he studied art, followed by theology, and soon became an art teacher in Paris public schools while also maintaining a studio art practice of drawing, painting, collaging, and woodblock printing.

This image is the last of thirty-four collages in his Apocalypse series, compiled in the beautifully produced book Apocalypse: A travers le dernier livre de la Bible | Bilder zum letzten Buch der Bibel (Pictures from the Last Book of the Bible) (1980), with text from Revelation in French and German. View selections from the book at http://galeriesassandra.fr/Apocalypse/index.html.

It shows the hands of God lovingly lowering the heavenly city to earth—the two realms reunited at last. The cross is at the center, forming the trunk of the tree of life, and the Holy Spirit spreads her wings over all.

[Related post: “Grief and Loss Will Be Undone (Artful Devotion)”]

LISTEN: “New World Coming” by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, 1969 | Performed by Nina Simone on Here Comes the Sun, 1971

There’s a new world comin’
And it’s just around the bend
There’s a new world comin’ (joy, joy, joy . . .)
This one’s comin’ to an end

There’s a new voice callin’
And you can hear it if you try
And it’s growing stronger
With every day that passes by (yeah, yeah, yeah . . .)

There’s a brand-new mornin’
Rising clear and sweet and free
There’s a new day dawning
That belongs to you and me

Yes, a new world’s comin’
You know the one I’m talking about
The one we’ve had visions of
And it’s comin’ in peace, comin’ in joy
Comin’ in peace, comin’ in joy
Come in peace, come in joy
Comin’ in love

And I saw another sign in heaven
Great and marvelous
Seven angels having the seven last plagues
For in them is filled up the wrath of God
And I saw, as it were, a sea of glass mingled with fire
And them that had gotten the victory over the beast
And over his image
And over his mark
And over the number of his name
Stand on the sea of glass
Having the harps of God all around them

There’s a new world comin’
And it’s just around the bend
There’s a new world comin’
This one’s comin’ to an end

There’s a new voice callin’
And you could hear it if you would just give it a try
And it’s growing stronger
With every day that passes by

And there’s a brand-new mornin’
Rising clear and sweet and free
There’s a new day dawning
That belongs to you and me

Yes, a new world’s comin’
The one we’ve had visions of

Comin’ in peace, yeah
Comin’ in joy, yeah
Comin’ in peace now, yeah
Comin’ in love now, yeah
Comin’ in peace now, yeah
Comin’ in joy now, yeah
Comin’ in peace now, yeah
Comin’ in love, yeah
Comin’ in peace . . .
Comin’ in joy . . .
Comin’ in love (joy)

This song, as you may have noticed, includes a recitation of Revelation 15:1–2:

Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended.

And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. (NRSV)

After a cosmic battle between good and evil, peace, love, and joy come to roost.