Guest blogger: The Rev. Mark Reed, Methodist Theological School in Ohio
Do you ever feel like the world is changing in uncomfortable ways? Like forces beyond your control are shaping the world and causing you to reframe your life in it?
Our lives are often disrupted, and what we’ve worked so hard to build and protect looks to be breaking down, to be slipping away.
I imagine that’s how the Jews felt during the period Revelation was written. The Jews were God’s special people. They were the great family, which had been promised to Abraham in the desert eons ago, but now the Roman Empire seemed to be swallowing them up. The Romans burned God’s house to the ground, and Jewish identity as God’s people was broken.
For centuries, the Hebrews had imagined their God as a king. In fact, the Hebrews used words like Lord and King to avoid using the Lord’s name, Yahweh. By the time Revelation was written, the early Christians, just like the other Jews around them, were yearning for another revolution, a different kind of government, ruled by a savior, all of which God had promised in their sacred stories. God gave the author of Revelation such a vision in chapters 21 and 22.
In times of disruption, we can imagine that our kingdom is breaking down. Or, conversely, we can imagine that God’s kingdom is coming to fruition. We can sit back and watch our surroundings change. Or, on the other hand, we can engage with God and others to “be the change we wish to see in the world.”
What I have come to learn is that God is in EVERYTHING, even in those uncomfortable times when things feel unsettled. In fact, it is in how we respond to the new community that we taste the New Jerusalem, a community directed by the example of Jesus and brought into adjustment and justice by God.
As the story goes, “See, I am making all things new. Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true. It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.”
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.
Even so… Come, Lord Jesus.