May 12, 2023
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING:
“I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, ‘Come!’”
TODAY’S REFLECTION ON GOD’S WORD:
Earlier, I suggested that the entire Book of Revelation was a template for our spiritual worship. Inspired by the very word of God as filled with His breath, the Holy Spirit, we are given the opportunity to see the world as God sees it. He sees it through the lens of His Son, Jesus who is the Christ. The Apostle Paul presented the image of Christ as the ultimate High Priest and therefore the only intercessor who can approach both our problems and our solution with equal confidence. How sure we can be when we know that God is on our side! When we act according to the instruction of His Word and let each act be filled with the power of His Holy Spirit, we should be bold and confident and effective. It does not mean that the world will not come against us. Nor does it mean that we may not experience suffering, anguish and pain. What it does mean is that we shall never be overcome by the Enemy of God who has placed His covenant of protection over our soul. As our soul goes, so goes our heart, mind and strength. This is the way of worship as we commit ourselves to “come and serve the Lord with gladness.” (Psalm 95.6) We, as mighty ones of God, are invited “…to enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” (Psalm 100.4) We are able to create that healthy self-talk as did David when he sang “Why are you disquieted within me, o my soul, for I shall yet again praise Him, My Savior and My God.” (Psalm 42. 5 and 11) As in the words of a favored hymn, “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” Because of Him, we know “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8.1) Mighty ones of God, we, like John of Patmos and Ephesus, stand on the precipice of the “end of an age.” We do not need to stand trembling with fear as those who have no hope. We do not need to cover our eyes nor turn away our faces from the truth that is real or perceived. We, in worship and service to God, are able to accept the invitation to “Come. Come and see.” This ought to be a part of our every worship. We should be entering into the perspective of Almighty God who through His Son has shown mercy, compassion, justice and equity. We must learn to see the world, ourselves, the heavens and the earth from the perspective of God. Our time in worship is actually a training ground to hone our skills and experience so that we may confront the “world out there” with the “truth in here.” That means we must face the realities of life honestly, humbly and with contrition. We can do so because God has saved us. God has called us His own who call Him their own. They do so not just in words but in actions so that the two shall validate each other. Such validation establishes the “opening door” policy of God who welcomes the sinner to leave their sin in the world and come in to the House of Prayer where the forgiveness of sins bathes them in newness of life.
But, take heed! Church, any house of worship where Yahweh Elohim is God and Jesus of Nazareth is Christ, is not a carwash experience. We do not pass through the waters, touched or untouched, as Israel did at the Red Sea, and then are able to leave the scene to return to our former selves which led us into slavery in the first place. We know from that event that Pharaoh’s army was consumed by those very waters because they pursued the people of God. They did not pursue God for themselves. Their “God” was Pharaoh. They lived and died at his command. Israel was untouched by the waters and apparently untouched by the experience of the justice and judgment which God presented that day. Why do I say that? Because when the going got tough, the people looked back and decided to practice what had become engrained in their heart, mind and soul. All of that was the idolatry of Egypt. Apparently, Pharaoh wasn’t the only one who had forgotten the authentic Joseph who served God first and others with his faith in God first. No, when we go into worship to praise God from whom all blessings flow, we to profess that we have been forgiven and practice the way of righteousness as those who know the power of forgiveness. We are then able to see what was, is and what is yet to be. We are able to share the truth with others knowing we have a company of support in a community of faith joined with us. Our cleansing and empowering is not just a garment we put on one day of the week and then change back into our “work” clothes the rest of the time. Forgiveness works from the inside out to purify and heal that which is soiled and broken. This truth isn’t truth unless we know it; nearly merely are aware of it. With that, now we can see why Jesus, the Lamb of God, was the only one able, capable and worthy to reveal the truth of how God’s will was going to be fulfilled. The scroll is not “a last resort” but a “final word.” Once it was opened there was no turning back. Jesus couldn’t say “Ooops, JK, just kidding.” The words of the scroll (there would be seven of them, so we know it is very special and sanctified) would be the sounding of the coming of the Bridegroom. Those who were prepared would rejoice. Those who were not were given the “last minute” opportunity to make ready. It wasn’t much time but it was some time. As we are first confronted with the images of horses, I would say the time is parenthetically like the length of the Derby or Preakness or Belmont Stakes. The sound of the trumpet, the firing of the pistol or the ringing of the bell was all the alert to be given. From the opening of the gates to the crossing of the finish line was all that would be given to receive the True Victor who is King of kings and Lord of lords, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and bearer of the weight of governance of heaven and earth. Let those with eyes to see the opening of the seals perceive the impact. Let those with ears to hear the understanding of the call apply it without question.
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.