I’ve found this interesting: the scriptural narrative begins in a garden (Genesis 1-2) and ends in a city (Revelation 21). And I think it is worth pondering, what this means.
Perhaps it means that God can be found in both the city and the country. In both the busyness of the city lifestyle and the slower-pace of rural settings. In both our creation and His creation.
The balance between urban and natural landscapes becomes our responsibility, and in this sense, we are “mini” creators (or co-workers) with God, for the Eternal Kingdom. What a great responsibility to be good stewards of the earthly resources God has entrusted with us! Often we fail to listen to our conscience and the leading of the Spirit in this regard. I wonder, what might it be like to lean on the Spirit more when we think about our natural and human-made environments.
Today we often find the differences of urban and rural lifestyles as a cause for frustration with one another. Opposite lifestyles are often considered too “backwards” or too “progressive”. But if we really believed that God is found in both, we would not have this hostility towards one another. Instead we would open up opportunities for conversation and understanding. We would view the other person’s viewpoints as thoughts worth respect and consideration.
It seems that there is a further point to take away from all this as well: God does not intend for us to run around naked in the woods the way the first humans did. God desires us to mature as a civilization and expects us to come together. This trajectory image of a city in Scripture calls us to be connected with one another. We are not to live in our own echo chambers of isolation or like-mindedness, but to live together in true community.
What we discover is that while we may not always get along with one another, humanity as a whole (just like the Church) is called to be bound together by love for one another.