The reading from John's Gospel this week quoted Jesus' words to his loyal disciples, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him." He then instructed them to love one another--"That's how somebody will know that you are one of my disciples, by the love you have for one another."
The reading from Acts reminds us that the Christian love we have and demonstrate is not restricted to a very small group. The Holy Spirit can fall on people that we might not have thought appropriate for that gift. We are left to ponder whether the Holy Spirit is still doing that, left to ponder whether we should voice Peter's words, "If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?"
Psalm 148 is more explicit in its inclusivity. Everybody, everything praise the Lord. Nature, sun, moon, stars, fire, hail, snow, all animals, all people--all praise the Lord.
Themes from these readings extend into the passage from Revelation. John envisions a new heaven and a new earth. Things are now different from the way they were; moreover, they are different because God has said so. Furthermore, in this new way of things, God will continue to be in our midst. God will continue to care for us.
Every day, several times a day, we face temptations to bow to the demands of the society around us. We, of course, care about assuring and protecting our own security. But, if we are Christians, since we are Christians, we have to take up residency in this new earth, one with tribes from every nation, everybody speaking different languages. We are all there together, all worshipping God.
Where once heaven and earth seemed so far apart, so separate, now, in Christ, we see heaven coming down to us. Where once we thought of God as far away, so separate, now, we experience God's presence right here, right now.