On Sunday we read the next chapter in Revelation. This week is the passage of a dragon waiting to devour the male child of a woman. While we cannot be sure that the author had King Herod, Mary and baby Jesus in mind, it sure connects well. If the dragon represents part of the evil of empire, that it can at least connect with King Herod's desire to snuff out any flame of hope. In this passage the child is swept away to God's throne before the dragon could devour him. Furthermore, the mother is hid and nourished by God for nearly four years, which reminds us of Jesus' ministry of roughly three years. Again, I tend to think the original intended audience of Revelation would have readily thought of Jesus and Mary as connecting to the child and Woman. Regardless, this is a theme that is timeless - children being sought by evil powers and wishes, and devoured by violence, slavery, marginalization, and political/corporate elite.
While the imagery is captivating, something reminiscent of fairy tales and cartoons, we should probably focus on the middle part of this chapter - verses 10-11. The blood of the Lamb conquerors unjust accusers, as does the testimony of those who cling to more than life itself.
That is a challenge in a culture that encourages us to focus on our survival and security at all costs. What does it mean to live as a Jesus following Christian? Is living our greatest priority? If not, what is? Ask those you know best - what is their greatest priority? "Living," or something else? What was Jesus' biggest priority, and did the empire win when it executed him?
Read - As we continue reading Daniel, as another apocalyptic book like Revelation, this week is Daniel 4-6. 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.’