Epiphany- Day 31
Revelation 7:9-17 TNIV
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore,
“they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
will spread his tent over them.
‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center before the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ “
CONSIDER THIS. . .
To be a person of epiphany requires a sanctified (holy) imagination. Today’s text unfolds for us what has been called, “the beatific vision.” To be sure, the Revelation of John is filled with symbolism but it cannot be reduced to a mere metaphor or worse mythology. Through the Apostle John, the Holy Spirit is sharing a real vision with us. We get so caught up in questions that don’t ultimately matter, like, “Should we take this literally or figuratively?” That is the question of one whose sight has not been fully opened. We must take it as a certainty. To see this vision, one must suspend their former categories of understanding and ask for sanctified vision. It will come only as we bow down before the Lamb who is at the center of the throne.
Our hope is not in our hopefulness that someday everything is going to be ok. No, our hope is actually anchored in the future. We aren’t hoping for this future. As the British theologian, Jeremy Begbie, puts it, “We are hoping from this future.” In other words, our lives are already anchored there. Hope is not a yearning for a better future. Hope is the present experience of the beatific vision.
Peter Kuzmic, the Croation scholar, said it best, “Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future. Faith is having the courage to dance to it today.”
Can you hear it? jdw
Practical Application: Sit before this vision unfolded in the text and ask the Holy Spirit to give you eyes to see and ears to hear. Resist the temptation to check your email. ;0)