Texts for the Day
Commentary and Reflection
Let’s read Revelation! – Given its prominence in the popular imagination, the book of Revelation receives very little attention from the lectionary. Spend some time this week putting the Revelation 7 text we read on All Saints’ Day back into its original context. Read Revelation 4-10. This section of the book is a series of alternating visions, switching between heaven and earth. The sequence is as follows.
- Heaven: Revelation 4-5 – Vision of the heavenly throne room and Lamb of God
- Earth: Revelation 6 – Opening of the seven seals, the four horsemen
- Heaven: Revelation 7 – The vision of the 144,000
- Earth: Revelation 8-9 – The seven trumpets
- Heaven: Revelation 10 – John eats the little scroll
It is generally believed that the original audience of the book of Revelation was suffering from persecution. Although highly symbolic in nature, these chapters appear to be making a connection between suffering for the faith (down on earth) and the eventual victory of God (up in heaven). What do you think of this? Do you find it helpful? What bothers about this imagery and language?
Children of God – The epistle reading from 1 John declares, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God.” The idea that thorough the work of Christ we are children of God is a recurring idea in the New Testament. Here two more places to look. One is also in the Johannine literature (i.e. the Gospel of John and the three letters of John) and the other is from Paul.
Last week, in John 8:31-36, we read similar language about how we are no longer slaves to sin. Such talk is rooted in the Greco-Roman social structure, but it is fairly easy to grasp what is happening here. The needs for freedom and belonging never go out of style. Questions for reflection:
- Which do you find more useful, begin seen as no longer slaves or being seen as children? Why? If you find both inaccessible, what would you prefer?
- What about people who are not Christian? Are they children of God as well?