Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Revelation: A Story Of Hope

So, it's the last week of the year.  I began this blog as a way to jot down some thoughts as a reading group and I read through the Bible, cover to cover, in a year.  Our Tuesday morning discussion group was one of the highlights of my year.  It functioned in many ways as an eye in the storm.  I've intentionally tried to not discuss much of what happened over this last year in my blog, with a few slip ups, but as this year comes to an end, I'd like to thank the three women who met with me each week from January to August.  Reading with them opened my eyes to how much more Christian communities would benefit from spiritual disciplines if they practiced them together.  Trying to continue reading without my group was surprisingly difficult.  I had to skip Daniel through Malachi to get back on track after my move to Ardmore, and even skipping ahead, it was difficult to stay up on my reading, not due to lack of time, but due to lack of accountability.  My plan for now is to go back in January and read the books of the Old Testament I skipped, so expect to see a few posts from that.  For those of you who have been following this blog, and occasionally posting comments, thank you for your interaction and encouragement.  I hope this blog has been a blessing to you in some small way.

So, the book of Revelation...

Revelation is one of the most confusing, and therefore most misinterpreted and misused, books in the Bible.  Other than Leviticus, Revelation might be the least read book among people I've talked to.  As one of the teens in my last congregation put it, "I don't know what it means and it scares me."  I understand the sentiment, but it also makes me sad.  Revelation is a great book, and let me explain why.

Imagine you're sitting at a sports event and you've bet your entire life savings on Team A.  By all outward appearances, it looks as if Team B is going to win.  If they do, your life is over.  I would imagine you might be in a state of panic.  Now imagine, watching that game on TV a week later knowing that Team A won after all.  No panic.  No emotional melt down.  Yes, you still find yourself caught up in the excitement of the game, but you know who wins, so now you can just enjoy the game.

That's the book of Revelation in a nutshell.  God wins.  His people win.  In spite of the fact that all outward appearances suggest otherwise (so, for the first century Christians, that Rome would clean up), the opposite happens in the end.  Revelation is a book of hope, not destruction.  It is a book that ends by heaven coming down to earth, not earth being wiped out.  It is a book that ends with God among his creation, not people getting left behind.

So what does all that mean?  It means we can all relax a bit.  Yes, get caught up in the game, after all, we're still in the middle of it.  Shout and cheer or cry out when the opposing team scores a point, but know that we win.  Our lives are not a waste.  Play hard.  Play to win, but don't give up if it looks like we wont.  We know the end of the story.  We win.

Granted, there are a whole lot of confusing details I'm not going into.  Granted, there are a whole plethora of ridiculous interpretations regarding those confusing details that I'm also not going into.  There's a reason for that.  With the book of Revelation, it's easy to miss the forest for the trees.  The trees are pretty and interesting to look at, but if we miss the forest, we missed the point.

The forest: we win!

1 comment:

  1. BJ,
    Last day of 2011--just completed my reading. Just wanted to say your class was a blessing for me. Thanks for your time and effort. Look forward to your comments on some of those books that we missed. Blessings to you and your family! Jan

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