Today’s reading: Revelation 1-11; Psalm 146-147
Perhaps some of you entered the final book of the Bible today with fear and trembling, uncertain of what you would find there. Even if you’ve never read it, you’ve probably heard plenty about it, and your impressions may not have been favorable. It’s too bad that the way the book of Revelation has been manipulated by people for their own evangelistic agendas has cast a blight on its reputation.
Reading it today and tomorrow, I invite you to listen for its message of hope. Did you realize that the text for perhaps the most beloved and well-known pieces of sacred choral music is straight out of our reading today? Georg Friedrich Handel drew his inspiration for the composition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Revelation 11:15. Notice again the words themselves from this verse. They suggest that the prayer that Jesus teaches his disciples to speak, “thy kingdom come. . .,” will in fact be answered in the end. The kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord! This verse certainly helps address any notions that this book is primarily about a future event when certain people will be taken up from this earth while millions of others are left behind. If anything, the book of Revelation suggests that in the end God is coming here–watch for more on this in tomorrow’s reading.
As you read, it is also important to recognize Revelation as a highly symbolic book, originally composed in a particular time with a particular audience in mind. John was speaking to a group of Christians under persecution. He uses language and metaphor in a way that enables them to believe in a future with hope. For any Christian who struggles with the way things are in the world sometimes, the message is still there if we’re willing to listen.