So, what have I been thinking? heaps of things - my mind is always in a whirl. my heart is always being torn this way and that, there is anguish at what I see happening in this beautiful world of God. Anguish at the pain but also joy at the discovery of God in action in our midst.
this pentecost season reminded me of the importance of acknowledging the work of the Spirit in God's world amongst God's people. I have also started preaching a series on the book of revelation. A scary thing to do as the book is so controversial and I have always shunned it llike one of the plagues mentioned in it. But I discovered that so many people have little if any real knowledge of this book and there is so much hearsay around and so much misinformation that I felt the Spirit guiding me this way. I have started reading in depth first the text and then the commentaries and soooooo many books to choose from. One of the first things I noticed was that this book is the least read book in churches around the Christian world - those that follow the Revised Common Lectionary will only ever read as follows
In other words forget the letters to the churches - the words of Jesus to the seven churches in Asia! Forget the work of the Lamb of God, forget the transformation of the expected Lion of Judah who was really the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, not who wreaks vengeance on a sinful world!!! and forget all sorts of words on the evils of Empire etc etc etc. I cant believe how much damage humanity has done to the gospel for an enormous variety of reasons not the least of which is self interest!!! for instance: when Constantine became a Christian, he was uncomfortable with the whole implication against the Roman Empire depicted so he just ignored it and it started disappearing from view in that format. nicer to make it sound as if the whole thing was going to be in "pie in the sky by and by" the further away the better!!!Rev 1:4b-8 Reign of Christ year B &-Easter 2 year CRev 5:11-14 -Easter 3 year CRev 7:9-17 All Saints year B & -Easter 4 year CRev 21:1-6a -Easter 5 year C and additional reading: New Year day service any yearRev 21:10, 22-22:5 -Easter 6 year CRev 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21 -Easter 7 year C (if ascension Sunday not used)
Irenaeus used some of the text as proof against the gnostics in Against Heresies, just to name a few who started changing things. Before all this started, the people in the early church saw the book of revelation mostly in a Christological and not millenarian (chiliastic) way:
and that is the beginning of the long road to modern weird and wonderful ideas..... sighHelms... believes that a different, Christological, interpretation of Revelation existed alongside the one which stressed chiliasm, and that this reading may be traced in the writings of Justin, Irenaeus, Origen (c.185–255) and Eusebius. Helms asserts that this was the original and generally accepted interpretation and that the chiliastic interpretation was adopted only because of its usefulness in providing polemical material for use against the Gnostics (Finamore, S. (2009). God, Order, and Chaos: René Girard and the Apocalypse. Milton Keynes: Paternoster.)