In her reflection on Revelation 1 this Sunday Barbara said: The world has changed, how we perceive church has changed this year, but God is central and Jesus’s love is eternal and the Spirit will lead us. I invite you to have a go at reading chapter 1 in the week ahead and let’s see what God teaches us all through His word. So that’s what I have done and I want to offer you my own short reflection on what God might be teaching us through his word.
This is such an unusual time for us all, life is not easy, constantly changing as the rules we live by are changing, and challenging in how we can try to be alongside one another, without being alongside. So where does Revelation speak to us in this? For me Revelation gives a sense of hope even in our despair, a sense of comfort in our sadness and a sense of love in knowing that the Lord is there with us in every step we take, in every fear we have and in every doubt we feel. The Lord has promised us that he is the living one, alive for ever and ever and that even in death he will be there for us: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and of death’s domain.
Reassuring words when we are faced with so much sadness and fear but how many actually hear and accept those words of comfort today. How many are afraid of living because they fear death, how many are now afraid to go out and live because of the sense of vulnerability they feel, the sense of fear of what they will encounter no matter how careful they are, the sense that they are not ready to die, the fear that they have not lived the life they planned and will not be forgiven for some of the things they have said or done.
How do we reassure people that God is there for them that he loves us all, that the love which Jesus showed us is eternal and that the guidance of the Holy Spirit will help us on our journey? How do we reach out to folk with those words of hope and comfort? Surely it is by doing as John does in this first chapter of Revelation, by sharing the message we have been given, by shouting from the rooftops or through our websites and on Facebook that message of blessing, the gift of eternal love and hope that is contained in those first few verses. God is with us, for ever and ever, he gave us the gift of Jesus to share our life, our sorrows and our joys, and the power of the Spirit to guide us so that we can know that we are loved and cared for and that even in death will be comforted, supported and loved into eternity.
A wonderful revelation which we need to hold with us through all our doubts and fears, a revelation which assures us of forgiveness and offers us hope, no matter what life may hold. A revelation which can take away our fears, our vulnerabilities and offer us joy, love and peace. A revelation that asks us to have faith in even the most desperate of times: Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches – are we listening to what the Spirit is saying to us or are we too afraid to hear what might be asked of us. Let’s all open our ears to the words of revelation so that we can live out what it is that God is asking of us for the good of all. Amen