The following is a reflection (previously published on this site) on Matthew 5:1-12, the Gospel lesson appointed for All Saint’s Day, Year A, according to the New Revised Common Lectionary. On this site there is also • a reflection on the New Testament Lesson for the same day, and • a Litany for All Saint’s Day. There are certain sections of the Bible that modern Western culture has undoubtedly and unfortunately tamed. These wildly potent […]
The following is a reflection on Revelation 7:9-17, the New Testament lesson appointed for All Saint’s Day, Year A according to the New Revised Common Lectionary. On this site there is also • a reflection on the Gospel Lesson for the same day, and • a Litany for All Saint’s Day. The Book of Leviticus tells of the major festival of Tabernacles. All Israel was to gather together, and construct temporary shelters, called tabernacles, to […]
And, in case you missed it: the new creation has already begun. It began in Christ. It began with Resurrection. In the Resurrection Jesus was made so new that his followers didn't even recognize him. They thought he was the gardener. They thought he was a stranger. He walked through closed, locked doors. He is made new. And, in baptism WE are made new.
It’s only November 7th, and we’re already descending into the mysteries of the Season of Advent and the expectation of the Lord’s coming. For almost a decade now I’ve been on a crusade (er… so to speak) to recapture the true meaning of Advent. Every Advent -I remind people that it’s not just the season of gift buying and wrapping to get ready for Christmas. The Season of Advent is a serious season about the […]
The story of God and humanity is a covenant-story. And the story tells us, and shows us, over and over again, that God always seeks to be in relationship with us. And, admittedly, the story also shows how we always try to wriggle out of the deal. And, yet, God never stops the pursuit.
The astute reader will recognize in this reading, from the second to last chapter in the Bible, imagery from the second chapter of Genesis, and the Garden of Eden: the Tree of Life and the River flowing on either side of it. Here, in this phase of John's Apocalypse, we return to the cool of the garden - that wonderful time when humanity walked with God in the cool of the day. That time when we spoke to God as casually as we might speak to one another. That time when all was right in the universe, and all was right in our relationship with God. Paul would call this righteousness. But, it's not that the 'unpleasantness' of the fall never happened. Or the unpleasantness of Cain killing Abel. Or the unpleasantness of drunkenness, sordidness, the golden calf, David and Bathsheba, war, strife, hatred, idolatry, unfaithfulness blah, blah, blah - it's not that all that didn't happen. It's that it's all taken care of. The tab has been paid. The tomb is empty. Jesus is made new. And now the full ramifications of the Resurrection of Jesus can be seen: Eden is made new. Eden has returned - but! It's also remade. It's new.
If you’ve been following this blog for a few weeks, you may have noticed a theme. . . I think the juxtaposition of the quasi-continuous readings of the Book of Revelation this Eastertide is a great reminder that the Resurrection of Jesus has personal and cosmic ramifications: everything gets made new. Everything. Even us. Even the whole wide world. Peter catches a glimpse of that in the lesson from Acts. His personal struggle with the […]
The whole earth - all nations, all peoples - have come together around the Heavenly throne for a new dedication. Reminded that at one time they had no home, but now in God's Kingdom they do. Reminded that God has always saved them. And together they dedicate a new Kingdom - with no Temple, because in this new (Resurrected) world, there's no need for one special place where God dwelt. Because now God reigns everywhere.
But, this book is so, so very important - and utterly important when it comes to the Great Fifty Day Festival of Resurrection. Because it's in John's vision that the implications of Jesus' Resurrection are allowed to bear themselves out. It's in this book that we see that all things are made new because of the Lamb's death and rising. It's in Revelation that we see the full effect of the empty tomb - because when we look in this tomb we find that all of creation isn't there - for we have risen. It's in the Revelation to John that the ramifications of Jesus' Resurrection are shown to be cosmic in scale. And, it's beautiful. And, sometimes it's grotesque. But, whatever it is, it isn't shades of grey. It's bold, its scale is epic, and it's Life.