I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers flow in the right direction, will the earth turn as it was taught, and if not how shall I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven, can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows can do it and I am, well, hopeless …

from “I Worried” by Mary Oliver (2010)

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Look! I’m creating a new heaven and a new earth: past events won’t be remembered; they won’t come to mind. Be glad and rejoice forever in what I’m creating, because I’m creating Jerusalem as a joy and her people as a source of gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad about my people. No one will ever hear the sound of weeping or crying in it again. No more will babies live only a few days, or the old fail to live out their days. The one who dies at a hundred will be like a young person, and the one falling short of a hundred will seem cursed.

Isaiah 65:17-20

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What does your idea of paradise look like? I think if a prophet described mine, they might say: “Hey! In this new world, there is no such thing as humidity, all the tea is sweet, the Carolina Panthers win the Super Bowl every year, and all the people you ever loved are here waiting for you!”

I think the kingdom Isaiah describes here is a bit more serious and accessible to everyone. A place with no weeping? A place where everyone you love lives forever? If anything bad ever happened to you, you are going to have so many good things going on here, you won’t even remember it. Even if there is a little humidity, that sounds amazing to me.

If we trust in God, and the future God has prepared for us, then I think our part of the deal should be not to just wait for that reward, but to start living in a way now that makes earth as much like a paradise as possible while we wait for that future to unfold.

Will Oxford

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Lord, there is so much pain and anger in this world, and I know you have better things awaiting me. Give me strength to change the world in the short time I have here. Amen.

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… Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

from “I Worried” by Mary Oliver (2010)

Will Oxford

Will Oxford lives in New Haven, CT with his wife Heidi and their two beautiful cats. Will works at a local grocery store, ministering to the people of the world by being a smiling face and listening ear, as well as serving up free cups of coffee.

Kinderszenen, Op. 15: 7. Träumerei

Garry Bailey

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