Sometimes when I look at the world, I begin to despair. There seems not enough space for the thousands of refugees worldwide fleeing war, genocide, brutality, and injustice. Even if we realize there is enough space, the generosity of nations with stability and peace increasingly frays under the inrushing of numbers difficult to manage or adequately support—sadly, at times, yielding to other forms of racism. The United States in particular is faced with the question of how it will define its “greatness” in the present historical moment. Will it become increasingly insular, protecting its borders at any cost? Will it disregard its immigrant roots and narrate an American identity that forgets its founding cry for “liberty and justice for all” and the invitation to “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses”?
As Christians, this is exactly the moment in which we must hold intently to an eschatological reality yet unseen. We catch a glimpse in Revelation 7 of God’s ultimate vision for God’s people: “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” Every person equally beloved and given refuge at the seat of the throne. Together they live into a new doxological reality. Every path, every nation, every race, every language, every person joins in a singular gaze upon the Lamb and a singular hymn of praise. John’s Revelation offers us a vision of diversity honored and preserved—an exquisite portrait of unity precisely in embodied diversity. This vision of all creatures living into the fullness of God’s inestimable goodness is the hope—the telos—of all life itself to which we are called today to embrace with a conviction of things yet unseen.
Lord, help me today to find concrete ways to embody your promised eschatological reality so that I may be a more loving and just presence in the world. Amen.
The imagery of sheep plays a prominent role in three of this week’s readings. Psalm 23 uses the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep as its guiding metaphor. The Lord is our shepherd and leads us to safe and fertile places. Even when we pass through a dark valley, the Lord is there protecting us with a shepherd’s weapon, a staff. In the Gospel reading, Jesus describes himself as a shepherd who calls his sheep. Because they are his, they hear his voice. In Revelation, Jesus becomes the sheep—or more specifically, the Lamb that was slain on our behalf. Those who endure will praise the Lamb forever. Acts is different in that it focuses on a resurrection story, a manifestation of God’s power working through Peter.
Read Acts 9:36-43. How can you be a witness and a vessel for God’s activity?
Read Psalm 23. Reflect on the questions the author poses in Tuesday’s meditation. Allow God’s guidance and correction to be comforting.
Read Revelation 7:9-17. How does knowing Christ as both Lamb and Shepherd help you work to bring about things not yet seen?
Read John 10:22-30. How does your faith allow you to hold gently your convictions without needing to grasp tightly to certainties?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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