“And there was no more sea…” Revelation 21:1
I used to hate this verse. I love the ocean—the wildness of it, it’s color, the power and movement, the roar and quiet of it.
My heart feels still by the water. And so I was a little angry to read John’s words saying that there won’t be a sea in the kingdom of heaven.
Until this year when I learned what it actually means.
The sea in biblical times was understood to be a realm of chaos—a place where sea monsters and destruction lurked. It’s why it was such a big deal that Jesus calmed it in the gospels. He was literally showing himself to be Lord over all creation, even the chaotic, terrifying, deadly parts.
The narrative of Revelation is fantastical— images of dragons and monsters and a cosmic battle between Satan and the people of God. We encounter wave after wave of conflict and struggle and fear, until finally, we reach the culmination of the entire story of God:
God wins. And Christ is seated on his throne and the entire creation is made new.
And there is no more sea.
No more monsters. No more chaos. No more death or destruction or pain.
This year has been hard on many, many levels. Every day as I work with traumatized kids I hear stories of real and imagined monsters. Addiction, poverty, abusive parents, witnessed violence, sexual abuse. I feel caught in the conflict—constantly fighting to protect and help heal and gain ground in a world that seems determined to destroy them.
The “peace” of Advent feels a little alien in a pandemic.
And yet, there will be no more sea. Here is peace: one day death loses. Chaos loses. The monsters lose.
The Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace who walked on the waves wins this thing.
And there will be no more sea.