“Open the Universe!”

CC BY-ND, rmatthendrick, Flickr
CC BY-ND, rmatthendrick, Flickr

Okay, let’s think outside the box. 

Evil has recently been vanquished and the redeemed now live on New Earth where all is perfect and Jesus is King. Many customs and things still resemble the previous world, although spectacularly enhanced now. Pastime and sports, for example, still exist and so does most other recreation, including a truly virtual telecasting experience.

The biggest draw across the global kingdom now is an ongoing contest called “Open the Universe!” initiating Jesus’s long-awaited expansion of the human race to other planets throughout the cosmos. But who will govern the first new world?

Thus, Jesus has handpicked two teams of the faithful to compete and showcase their glorious skills and abilities. The task: build a city. Each team travels to a designated location on New Earth, constructs, and manages a city of their own, engaging the help and talents of the chosen denizens who will inhabit that domain.

In the end, Jesus will award his first regency to the team that has best organized, designed, erected, and governed its city. There are no losers; the second team will gain regency of the next expansion.

The people of New Earth are riveted by the giftedness of the participants, for each person presents facets of the Sovereign One, as they are called, only that individual can express. In fact, the hosts in Heaven watch with excitement, too.

Here are the first teams:

TEAM LION

Captain: David
Team:  Moses, John, Ezekiel, Apollo, Paul, Deborah, Solomon, Titus, Stephen, Silas, Noah, Elijah, Hezekiah, Ezra

TEAM LAMB

Captain: Joseph
Team: Abraham, Peter, Nehemiah, Josiah, Daniel, Esther, Joshua, Barnabas, Elisha, Luke, Samson, Timothy, Philip the Evangelist, John the Baptist

Cities on New Earth are designed around themes that are strongly incorporated in the built environment. The theme Jesus desires for these new cities is “Human Wonder in Eternal Triumph.” Use of the theme also factors in team selection.

Based on what you know of these people’s lives, particularly their strengths and abilities—projected in a perfect reality—which team do you think would be awarded the first regency? Why?

  • How do you interpret the city theme? 
  • How might each team incorporate the theme into its design?

Please comment and be imaginative!

The Book of Malchus

CC BY-NC, Michele.oliveira82, Flickr
CC BY-NC, Michele.oliveira82, Flickr

This is my attempt to reconcile the mystery about certain ones who encountered Christ. Here I present a reinvention of Malchus, servant to Caiaphas, in what became his addition to scripture. What strikes you? Also, read A Devil’s Point of View, a rethinking on Mark 1:21-26. 

To Pelias, friend and brother in the gospel, and his household, faithful servants in the ministry of God: I write you so that your heart will hold firm in God and the powerful grace at work in you. When you received your consecration, no one stood with you except me. And I have kept my promise to you in the labor of Jesus Christ.

Malchus’s Conversion

No man believed me either, not even the soldiers who stood with me that night. But after he touched my wounded head and the ear, the blood ceased flowing and all who saw it were astonished, for not even a scar remains. And he spoke to me, saying, “My Father has called you his servant.” None of my company dared to speak more about it, and the elders forbade me. Yet the hand that healed me never departed. The Spirit of the Nazarene greatly troubled me. I held my peace during the scandal, lest I put myself to death. But I could not withhold my witness forever. 10 Having suffered greatly at the hands of Caiaphas, I was thrown from his house and found haven in the company of the saints, who welcomed me into the faith and removed my burden. 11 I met Peter again, the friend of our Lord and my slayer, who now showed me great compassion and explained the gospel to me, a feeble child. The Spirit was mighty in him. 12 I continued in fellowship with the church in Jerusalem where there was strength and wonderful works of God. 13 My zeal grew; so did the word of God in me. 14 Then, the grace of God came to me from our brother Apollodoros to build the church in Bithia. 15 After much prayer and counsel from those higher in the faith, I landed upon this shore the servant of God, as he had promised.

Sharing His Sufferings

16 Who among us have borne the scorn of Christ without cause? 17 Did he not shake Israel with his words? Did we not faint at the radiance of his goodness? 18 You were a man with honor, but you gave it up for Christ and now carry his marks in your flesh. The holy apostles suffer persecutions daily. Is it for nothing? 19 Instead, we gladly bear this burden, for we behold him unveiled in our hearts. Our perseverance is born of faith.

Undeniable Proof

20 Remind the saints about us, your friends in tribulation. We pray for you daily. 21 Refute those who undermine the gospel and cleverly argue that Christ was a sorcerer or that he worked no miracles. 22 You saw him with your eyes and I received his touch. 23 Proclaim the truth for which you have given everything. We were the accusers of Christ but are now the very evidence of his victory.

Final Words

24 Greet Attolos, with whom I once labored. We praise God for the great grace that rests upon him. We expect his fellowship and ministry soon. 25 May the peace of our savior be with you all.