Tag Archives: apocalypse

Jesus Christ: faithful witness, firstborn of the dead, ruler of the kings of the earth

Reading
Revelation 1.4b–8

Reading the Bible with the eyes of the poor is a different thing from reading it with the eyes of the man with a full belly. If it is read in the light of the experiences and hopes of the oppressed, the Bible’s revolutionary themes—promise, exodus, resurrection and Spirit—come alive. — Jürgen Moltmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit, Kindle ed’n, loc.394.

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It was a Sunday. John was on the island of Patmos. Patmos is a Greek island, but John wasn’t there on holiday. He had been exiled to Patmos, confined there, imprisoned there. I doubt they had a cocktail hour or any all-you-can-eat buffets on Patmos.

It was a Sunday, the ‘Lord’s Day’, and John was ‘in the Spirit’. His eyes were opened to a vision in which he  Continue reading

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What does a Christian apocalypse reveal? (Advent 1A, 1 December 2013)

Readings
Isaiah 2.1–5
Matthew 24.36–44

 

We’re starting a new Church Year today, Year A in our three-year cycle. In Year A, most of the Gospel Readings come from the Gospel According to Matthew. As usual, on the first Sunday of a new year we start not at the beginning of the story but at the end.

We heard a snippet from towards the end of Matthew 24 today. Commentators sometimes call this chapter the ‘little apocalypse’ (along with the parallel passages in Mark 13 and Luke 21).

If this is a little apocalypse, is there a ‘big’ apocalypse? Well yes, there is; it’s the Book of Revelation. The word ‘apocalypse’ means ‘revelation’.

These aren’t the only apocalyptic writings in existence. We have the Book of Daniel; but two thousand years ago, there were many other apocalyptic books around the place. Apocalyptic was a type of literature, like science fiction, fantasy or historical fiction.

What is apocalyptic writing about. I’ve said that ‘apocalypse’ means ‘revelation’— but what comes into your mind when you hear those words?

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The arc of the moral universe… Sunday 33, Year B (18 November 2012)

Readings
1 Samuel 1.4-20
Mark 13.1-8

Some of us are going on a tour of the Holy Land next year. I’m getting ready to be seriously impressed by the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The Western Wall is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple’s courtyard. It is all that’s left of the Jerusalem temple that Jesus knew; the rest of it was utterly destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. The Western Wall isn’t much compared to the temple in all its glory, but it still impresses to this very day.

So we can understand one of Jesus’ followers exclaiming,

Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!

Of course, the temple would have seemed just simply staggering to a hick from the backblocks of Galilee.

But Jesus had had quite enough of the temple. He replied,

Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.

No wonder Jesus was all ‘templed-out’. You’ve got to remember the week he’d just had. It started when he drove the money changers out of the temple, declaring:

Is it not written,
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?
But you have made it a den of robbers.

Then day after day he had discussion (argument!) after discussion (argument!!) with the religious leaders about marriage and divorce, death and resurrection, paying taxes to Caesar and who was John the Baptist. Jesus won all these arguments, which just made the leaders angrier and angrier with him. And all the more determined to put him away for good.

And then the poor widow came along. She put a pittance into the temple treasury—two tiny coins which were everything she had.

And why did she have so little? Because of the way widows were left on the social and financial scrapheap by everyone. Including the temple system, including the scribes, who grew fat on widows’ misfortune.

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