Thursday, April 18, 2013

Revelation 7:9-17

Easter 4 - Year C 

When an ordeal is over thanksgiving is in order. In fact, great thanks giving simply comes through, whether in order or not.

That which can wipe away our every tear is highly valued. Of course it is exactly this that often gets us into ordeals. Fascists and dictators of every stripe first appeal to being a source of great comfort — getting the trains to run on time or to overcome some great internal or external foe.

Wiping away every tear is a worthy value. The question is at what expense and for what purpose. If it is to control or for praise of the most powerful around, the value of comfort is diminished and needs to be replaced by rebellion.

What other responses are there to coming through terrible troubles? “Remember!”, is one. “Never again!”, is another. “We learned X or Y or Z and will structure that in to next decisions,” is yet a third. Do add your own fourth or fifth or tenth.

Imagine for a moment that Revelation were to return us to earth to rectify past errors and eras. What then would be the appropriate behaviors, something beyond 24/7 worship. Even in heaven, minds can stray after some time of continuous thanksgiving. If there is any humanity left in heaven it is hard to imagine this level of good-time lasting. At some point a mind will wander, an extraneous thought enter, admiration of that gorgeous set of wings will set off some greed-o-meter. If this is a next garden time, will there be time for an evening talk as well as an insatiable coveting of more and more thanks?

If Revelation is simply encouragement for folks in travail, what happens when onlookers of another time begin to claim the perks of ordeal survival without the ordeal? It turns into a pie-in-the-sky theory that removes us from the development of relationships with one another in order. We end up with only a relationship with whatever we name god. This becomes a control mechanism of a religious institution.

Watch out for a false future representing a false Messiah.

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