May 8, 2023
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING:
“Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,
for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4.9-11)
TODAY’S REFLECTION ON GOD’S WORD:
Biblical scholarship has suggested that one way of “reading” the Creation Story (Stories) found in the Book of Moses called Genesis, or “The Beginning,” is to hear the first chapter from the perspective of the priests. We have to understand that Moses was not present in the moments of creation and scribing what he saw. In that regard, John the Presbyter had a distinct advantage because he saw what was happening “that came next.” Some may say it was only a vision or a dream. Some say he was transported in the Spirit to that “distant land” as was Ezekiel transported from the Ur of the Chaldees by the Chebar River to the Temple in Jerusalem and caused to see “the state of the union” there in the holy place where God was before He moved across the valley to rest on the distant hill (presumably the Mount of Olives.) Perhaps Moses, too, was transported in a vision via the Spirit back in time to see how it all began. Regardless of the medium, there is no doubt that the Holy Spirit was at work in revealing the truth about what happened, was happening and was yet to happen in the days ahead. Maybe it is that we have the view of Creation through the lens of the priests. He was, afterall, influenced by his father-in-law who was a Midianite priest stationed at the foot of Mount Sinai in the Wilderness of Sin. (That is indeed another story which can connect Moses to Abraham in a spiritual revelation.) What we do know is that God revealed Himself to Moses at Mount Sinai and there surrendered His personal name, YHWH or “I AM,” to Moses as a sign of the covenant made between them for the deliverance of God’s people from slavery in Egypt. I offer that perspective in this reflection because of our “vision” given to us via John of what he was shown next. That “next” was a glimpse of Heaven after being given a view of the seven churches. Remember, they were represented by seven candlesticks, or lampstands, which stood before the throne (Revelation 1.12) That vision was revisited in chapter 4 and enhanced as John was directed to look across a shimmering glassy sea. In his view there was a throne surrounded by four living creatures (as we also saw in Ezekiel’s theophany in Babylon) who bore the faces of a lion, bull, eagle and man. Around them and the throne was a rainbow circle (a circle of peace and promise?) on which sat twenty-four elders dressed in white with crowns of gold. between them and the glassy sea were the seven lampstands. It is not difficult to imagine this scene from John’s literal perspective on Patmos looking to the east across the Mediterranean Sea toward Asia Minor where the seven churches were located. By that designation, the throneroom scene was even beyond all of that as in a distant country. What was shown to John and to us was a sanctuary or temple where the worship of God was ongoing. The whole scene played out before John was an act of worship. In fact, it has been suggested and I have followed it faithfully, the Book of Revelation is a worship book with distinct parts of worship represented from beginning to end. It has order, function, purpose, promise and fulfillment. In that way, we can see Moses’ “creation” story in a vision of worship as it moves from the beginning to its culmination with the Sabbath Day and the command to “keep it holy.” There is a distinct order in these beginning and ending books of the text of God’s Word. It is a call to worship the One who is the Creator, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, Who was and is and is to be! Mighty ones of God, let us be captivated in our faith of God to return to and restore the two critical elements of this faith which God invokes in us. Those two critical elements are obedience and love. Their antithesis are chaos and apathy. If we look with an open-mind we can see those elements in the words to the seven churches starting with a call to obedience to those whose lives have become chaotic because they have forsaken their first love. In concludes with a call to love and be loved (in rebuke and discipline) instead of being apathetic, or lukewarm. What do we not see, if we do not see in the Creation Story of Moses a movement from chaos to sanctification through obedience and an ordered, purposeful life. And sadly, what do we find on the “eighth” day but a return to chaos in the fall through temptation and submitting one’s freewill to forsake their first love with God’s call to be restored in spirit and in truth through obedience and love with right worship, right service and right action?
Let those with eyes to see, perceive.
Let those with ears to hear, listen for understanding.
Shalom and Selah.
A PRAYER FOR TODAY:
You are our God and we shall be Your people in spirit and in truth. Continue to dwell among us. Let the revelation by Your Holy Spirit inspire us to greater service in a more refined identity. We do not live as ourselves for ourselves. Rather, we live in Christ as He lives in us. We declare it with all the elders and angels in Heaven, saying “Holy, holy, holy is He who was and is and is to come.” In Jesus’ name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.