Now Is The Time Lent Study

Alpha and Omega - Reflections - 3-30-16

 Texts for Sunday 4-3-16
 Second Sunday of Easter

 Acts 5:27-32
 Psalm 150
 Revelation 1:4-8
 John 20:19-31

 Each year at the Easter Vigil the following words are said as the inscription on the brand new Paschal Candle is traced by the minister. Then the candle is lit from a newly built fire.

Christ yesterday and today,
 the beginning 
and the ending,
To Christ belongs all time 
and all ages;
to Christ belongs glory and dominion, 
now and forever.

Hmmm. Sounds a lot like our second reading from Revelation …. Alpha and Omega…. who is and who was and who is to come….to the one who loves us and frees us – to him be glory and dominion, forever and ever. I bet this unusual book of the Bible guided those who “codified” the liturgy for the Vigil centuries ago.

It feels empowering to shout “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” at the vigil and the Easter Day celebrations of the resurrection. For a moment we stand in that eternity where all has been fulfilled. But then, we get back in the car, back to our daily life, back to our routines, back to our sorrows and our pains; eternity seems pretty far away. Maybe that is why those who built the lectionary put readings from Revelation in the Easter season. 

For the people from the community out of which Revelation was born eternity undoubtedly felt very far away. They were now two generations away from Jesus’ life and ministry. Two generations that expected Jesus to return any moment. During that time, they saw Jerusalem destroyed, saw Rome crush any hopes of freedom. What is taking Jesus so long? 

The main message of the book of Revelation to those people - and to us - is that God’s got this; you can count on it. 

Life is messy and broken. But death and evil are defeated…. Easter has unleashed the victory. Even when Rome crushes our hope, even when our daily life is filled with sorrow, even when it doesn’t seem like it…. Christ’s victory stretches from “was” to “is” to “is to come”.

As they say, we live in penultimate time. They also say that we live in the “already, not yet”. Eternity is weird like that. 

Readings from Revelation during this Easter season assure us that we can know the ultimate outcome; assure us that the ultimate outcome continues to draw us forward to Life.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. 
Please use the comment section below (all the way down past the related posts).

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