My daughter has been reading through the book of Revelation and calling me often to ask me what certain chapters, symbols and such means in the book. Of course, I have the whole thing figured out. Well maybe not the whole thing; but most of it. Actually, she has made me reread Revelation and think about a few things.
One of the main things is Revelation 5. It is a future picture of all God’s people worshipping together, a gathering of every language, ethnicity, culture, and nationality. The barriers that divide us will be gone, but it seems that the skin colors and speech that distinguish us will still be evident. That’s kind of strange. The diversity that causes us so much trouble now will be a notable part of our combined worship that brings so much glory to God.
Diversity worshipping together bringing glory to God? HMMM! What if that glorious future reality were to happen right here, right now? Can you imagine violent neighborhoods being a place of shalom? Can you imagine slums and “projects” lush and beautiful? Can you imagine war-torn areas as places of peace and human flourishing? No refugees, no bigotry, no question of “whose lives matter,” no republicans or democrats, no progressives or traditionalists.
As I read Revelation 5, it seems to me that we have not experienced all that God has for us as a redeemed and reconciled community of believers. Theologian Leroy Barber says, “Revelation 5 only eludes us because we aren’t willing to go the distance with people who are different form us.” God’s full blessing cannot be fully achieved until we put Christ’s kingdom first, ahead of our prejudices, our comfort, and our culture.
Is our country in the midst of a lot of divisiveness? Our current way of living and relating is only going to lead to destruction. What is our hope? Our hope is in acknowledging that we are all God’s creation and we are not called to just love our own family, our own little tribe or fraternity. We are called to love those that are vastly different from us and build relationships with them that won’t just last a lifetime; but will find us gathered around the throne of God singing His praises for eternity. Go the distance with someone vastly different from you.
Geaux Tigers Barry
Published on Thursday, October 10, 2019 @ 3:35 PM EDT