We have begun our Resurrection journey. We are given the Second Sunday to enter into and experience the Mercy of the Resurrected Lord. This Mercy and love through the resurrection is power for something new, a New World.
There are voices in our age that would look at what we are experiencing around us, and see in the tornados and hurricanes, the wars and divisions, earthquakes and volcanoes, they would say the Apocalypse is upon us. Apocalypse is not so much death and destruction but rather a revealing or unveiling of something new. Revelatio means to reveal or make known. So in our reading from Revelation, or the Book of the Apocalypse of John we are seeing something being revealed or unvailed. That something is a new power, a new order, a new world that comes from the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Then as now the worldly power dominates, destroys and tears down. The Romans were just as afraid as any other powerful nation of anything or anyone who would disrupt their world order. Those unwilling to conform to their ways were considered a threat. This brings us to second reading this weekend from the book of Revelation. It is not a book about the end of the world, but rather a vision given to John the Apostle or the Beloved, of a new power, a New World led by the Resurrected Lord and King. This New world instead of dominating and subjugating is imbued by the Resurrected Lord to be loving and lifting up all who have been disregarded and left behind.
We find today the Apostle John exiled to Pathos, having been beaten and tortured he is sent to this tiny island in Asia Minor of the coast of what is today Turkey, exiled for proclaiming the resurrection and Lordship of Jesus the Christ. The resurrected Jesus was a threat to their world order. The unwillingness to participate in the cultic practices was a threat, the cult of the emperor were to be worshiped by all. The word of this resurrected Jesus indeed brought in a new world order with lives transformed, meaning and purpose restored and a new power that overcomes fear, darkness and hatred.
In the midst of prayer on the Lord’s day, or resurrection day John is caught up in the Spirit. I am sure we can identify with this experience of prayer. The Holy Spirit takes hold of us and we experience a transcendence. John has a vision of 7 gold lamp stands, the Jewish Menorah, and one like the Son of Man clothed as a priestly King. The true ruler of this New World, transformed by the power of the resurrection, Jesus eternal priest and king! He invites John to write down on a scroll the visions that he sees.
“I was caught up in spirit on the Lord’s day
and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet, which said,
“Write on a scroll what you see.”
Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me,
and when I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands
and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man,
wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash around his chest.”
Jesus speaks that familiar and awestruck statement, ”Do not be Afraid”! He has conquered death, he was once dead but has arisen. He holds the keys to life. Our living in this New World of Christ’s reign requires boldness in both proclaiming the truth of who Jesus is and a willingness to step up and step out in faith to care-fore those in need. When we truly live the power of the resurrection we seek to actively change the disparity, the poverty and alienation that robs those most struggling from life and prosperity. We come together encouraged and led by the Risen One, who speaks to us as he did His disciples. ”do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Believe that His power and presence has the ability to continue to transform our world.
“Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.”