A view from the top

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From the Manse...

A couple of Saturdays ago we were able at long last to take advantage of a delayed Christmas present — the opportunity of walking over the O2 Millennium Dome in London.

Since it was built it has become an iconic landmark in our capital city, instantly recognisable and used in many different settings, from the opening credits of EastEnders to James Bond in 'Skyfall' and 'The world is not enough'.

It was a fantastic experience — with amazing views from the top, including the Observatory where the Prime Meridian passes just to the west of the building. With the home of Greenwich Mean Time being almost within the dome's shadow, it was fascinating to learn about the symbolism of the dome itself.

There are twelve yellow pillars that are key to holding the structure up — each one representing not only a month of the year but also the hours on a clock face. The dome has a diameter of 365 metres to represent the days of the year, whilst the the centre of the dome is a full 52 metres tall to represent the 52 weeks in each year.

As all of this was being explained to us, Chapters 21 and 22 of the Book of Revelation came readily to mind, where the new heavenly Jerusalem is being described. Like the dome, that structure is also symbolic in its importance.

The walls of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia...... and it was 144 cubits thick. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone' numbering 12 in total with 12 gates.

Within the city itself was the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

With direct references to the Garden of Eden (and its longed for restoration) as well as the importance of numbers (12 in this case and all its variations) John the Divine is reminding us that the importance of the new Jerusalem is about far more than just its physical shape and construction.

Likewise, our churches are important symbols in our midst, far more than just the actual buildings themselves — for they are the ones that point vertically in the midst of a horizontal world.

From the viewing platform of the O2 dome you can see London and beyond — from the top of the new heavenly Jerusalem ..... why nothing less than eternity itself!

Love and God Bless

Keith

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