This week's lesson continued Revelation by reading this section about two witnesses, and then a seventh trumpet. It is not a very comforting or clear passage for us to read today. It includes images of death and destruction, and tries to connect Sodom, Egypt and crucifixion of Jesus at one point.
Even if it's too confusing to always connect with each part of Revelation, we can access and relate to the meta (big) narratives. At least one small point for this passage is to remember that Sodom was dealing with violence, Egypt was dealing with violence, and then Jesus encountered violence. As we wrestle with naming "empire" as an entity, power and force that too often destroys much for the sake of a few, we do well to notice that this is not a new story. Violence, death, destruction, evil, and hate have been plaguing people for centuries. Is there hope in the middle of all this "gloom and doom"? That is a primary question I always ask in Revelation - is there hope, and is there love and salvation? Too often apocalyptic movies, stories and Bible passages are understood for their epic scenes of destruction and the deep desire to survive. But, they also help us wrestle with what is meaningful. Survival is a key motivator, but so is hope.
As a junior higher, where is your hope. If you read the news, does it speak of hope? On a deeper level, where does your family find hope, and can you create hope? I truly believe the author of Revelation was creating hope the best s/he could.
Read - Now that we concluded reading through the Gospel of John (story of Jesus), as well as John 1, 2 and 3 (the shorter letters to the early church), we'll start a journey into the other apocalyptic literature similar to Revelation. This leads us to consider Daniel. This week, read Daniel 1-3. For some basic background info (but not always Anabaptist theology) glance over the wikipedia page to learn more.
Pray - For the season of Advent, consider praying Mary's Song, Luke 1:46-55
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48 for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’