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.
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.