Friday, May 13, 2022

Easter 5C

Revelation 21:1-6

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "See, the home of God is among mortals. God will dwell with them as their God; they will be God's peoples, and God will be with them; 4God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away."

5And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." Also he said, 'Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." 6Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life."

Easter is Fifty Days

Easter is a week of weeks: 7 times 7. The day of Pentecost, our third great Trinitarian festival that celebrates the Holy Spirit, is the fiftieth day of Easter. The fifty days of Easter take up about 1/7 of a calendar year. On his Liturgy website, Bosco Peters recently observed that one-seventh of a year fact makes the Easter season into its own Sabbath day, since each day of a week is a seventh of the entire week. (Why didn't I think of that?!)

Easter 4 blog from last week


Today I wrote to the "vision" prompt for the weekly Five Minute Friday free write and riffed on the first four verses of today's passage.

For all seven Sundays of Easter in Luke's lectionary year C, the second reading comes from Revelation. Bookends in the Christian canon of scripture parallel:

• First Creation – Genesis 1 and 2: Tree of Life, River of Life, and a Garden

• New Creation – Revelation 21 and 22: Tree of Life, River of Life, and a City that grows out of a well-tended garden—the garden of resurrection?!

Much of Revelation is in the literary style of apocalyptic that uses symbolic language and physical symbols to uncover and reveal what's otherwise hidden. Other scriptural examples of apocalypse include sections of Ezekiel and Daniel, parts of Isaiah, and some passages in gospels of Mark and Luke.

Revelation was written down by an unknown author during the reign of Roman emperor Domitian and shows us how empires operate. It's not quite a road map, yet somewhat of a guide book for living baptized in the context of empire—whether imperial-style national governments or trans-national consumer entities that creep into almost every aspect of the planet's existence.

Today's Scripture

This chapter of Revelation finally starts to talk about the new creation that's a New Earth and also a New Heaven!

"The sea was no more" in Revelation 21:1 isn't about ecological disaster—scripture often makes oceans and seas code for untamed chaos. In the famous passage that opens Genesis 1 the Spirit of God hovers and breathes and speaks over the "deep," the unordered chaotic waters. In our baptism with Water and Word, God calls and enables us to tame, order, and limit the chaos of empire.

Today's poetry and much of both OT and NT are about a God so in love with Creation that God chooses to make a home on earth in the midst of creation, in a body formed from the stuff of creation—in Jesus of Nazareth, and now in us, Jesus' Spirit-filled, Spirit-led followers. Christianity is earthbound and embodied!

Revelation 21:3 where God "makes a home with mortals" uses the same word as in John 1:14 (the gospel according to John). Late Pastor Eugene Peterson translates it as God "pitching a tent" that allows God to journey step by step alongside us. We find a similar image in the Exodus desert account with God's presence in a cloud by day, fire by night, and in the ark of the covenant the people carried with them.

Concluding song, Peace In Our Time

…by Eddie Money, from The Sound Of Money

You and I know what love is worth
We're gonna build a heaven on earth
Gonna make love the bottom line
Gonna find peace in our time
We're gonna build a heaven here on earth
Turning water, water into wine making love the bottom line
Finding peace, peace in our time…

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