This sermon is part of the sermon series "A Man for All Seasons". See series.
I grew up in a small mining town in northern Canada, a place memorable for its hard, cruel winters. But on the first day of summer in 1975, a few weeks after I turned 15, I found myself transported, as though on a magic carpet, to a home in Greater Vancouver. I was delirious with joy. I spent that summer practically living in downtown Vancouver. I walked virtually every mile of the city, exploring streets, bridges, parks, and beaches.
In the golden hue of memory, it never rained the summer of 1975. Every day dawned more magnificent than the one before. I have vivid recollections of walking English Bay—the smell of popcorn and coconut oil in the air, bodies turning chocolaty-brown in the sun. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
A foretaste of heaven
In some ways that's what summer is: a foretaste of heaven; a rehearsal of paradise; a preview of the Promised Land. Revelation 21 and 22 describe the New Jerusalem—the kingdom of God in its fullness. Revelation 22:2 has this image: "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."
What an amazing tree. It's just one tree, but it stands on both sides of the river. Picture that, if you can. It bears "twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month." The progression of months remains intact in God's kingdom—one through twelve—but the cycle of seasons ends. Each month simply ushers into another month of summertime. It's endless summer in heaven.
Jesus explicitly equates the kingdom of God with summer. In Luke 21:29-31, Jesus says, "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves ...
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