Sunday, April 23, 2017

Revelation, Chapters 8-11

Today's passage is quite long; four chapters. You can read it here.

Did you know that the entire libretto for Handel's Messiah is made up of scripture verses from both the Old and New Testaments, essentially "cut and pasted" together. You can see for yourself here.  You can also see there, if you did not know it already (or it wasn't triggered when you read the eleventh chapter of Revelation) that the famous "Hallelujah Chorus" is comprised entirely of three verses from this apocalypse: 19:6, 11:15, and 19:16. Handel, of course, used the King James Version. (Actually, to be precise, his partner Charles Jennens did that; Handel wrote the music.)

This is all by way of saying that buried in the midst of today's long selection are these words, from the eleventh chapter, the fifteenth verse:
The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. 
Take 4 minutes and 22 seconds to listen again to what Handel does with just these three verses from Revelation, including 11:15 right in the middle:

How does this promise sound to people still without clean water in Flint? How does it sound to refugees trying to leave Syria for a new life?  To those on death row in Arkansas? To all who mourn?

How do these words sound to the powerful, the rich, the one percent who control the kingdoms of this world?

Too much "politics" in the Church? Don't blame me, nor Handel, nor even John of Patmos. We are all just messengers, trying to listen for a word of the Lord. This vision is that of the Lamb who was slain, the Lamb who is the Shepherd and the king of kings and lord of lords. This vision comes from the living God, and the risen Christ: he shall reign for ever and ever.

Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the Churches. 

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