But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness (2 Peter 3:13).
The mental picture of homecoming has changed over the years. There was a time when the word triggered memories of fallen leaves, crisp air, and football. The phrase was: “Celebrate Homecoming.”
“Homecoming” changed to “Coming home!” as a promise to parents who kept asking about Thanksgiving plans.
Then there was the, “Going home…” Home to bury a mother amid fallen leaves and crisp air.
Different pictures, but each one a homecoming.
No matter the changes in life and the mix-up of emotions, home was always the place to come to. It provided a base. A place to leave from and a place to go back to.
We might have called many places home as we moved around. But most likely, there is one place and time that stands out as best. When we picture “home” in our mind, this is it. We would always like to be able to come home there.
The Apostle Peter reminds us that not all homecomings are in the past. He points us to a new place to come home to—one that’s better than all the rest.
He calls it “a new heaven and a new earth.” We have always lived on this planet and in this universe. It’s hard to imagine anything else. But the new home will be something else.
It’s going to be wonderfully different. It’s called “The home of righteousness.”
We’ve never lived in a place like that. Sin has always found a place to stay in some corner of our earthly home. Sometimes it took over the place. Then, joy, peace, and contentment were swept out as if garbage. Sin is a homewrecker.
Not in this new home!
“Looking forward to it!” Peter said. But first, he warned, we will need to continue on in our old dwelling until the date set by our heavenly Father.
He tells us the day will come when the old creation, the first home of all humans, will come to an end. “The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare” (II Peter 3:10).
Hard to imagine what that will be like! It seems frightening.
It need not be. When troops see their own artillery rounds destroying enemy positions, they don’t cringe in fear. They celebrate.
So will the Christians who will be watching the end of this sin-stained creation. Jesus tells us, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).
But the Apostle Peter will not be standing on earth to see this happen. Neither will all of the other people of God who have already moved on to heaven.
Maybe we will already be there too.
But we all will celebrate.
It will be like cheering at a homecoming game victory.
Can’t beat that!
We pray, Heavenly Father, we thank you for the creation we live in. You made it beautiful. You made it perfect. We can still see the beauty. But we also see how it has been ruined by sin. Enable us to see the danger that lurks around us. Keep us safe until we can celebrate our heavenly homecoming with you. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military