Sunday 26th May 2019
Revelation 21 is an exciting commentary on the incident in Acts 16. Paul sees a man calling him to Macedonia responds immediately and God leads him to a wealthy woman by the river who has her whole household baptized. In how many ways have your cultural sensibilities been offended?
The rule of God as described in Revelation is now. A rich woman praying, as was the custom beside the river, listens eagerly, receives the message and has her whole household baptized: baptism is the start not the full-stop of coming to faith and leadership is female. Indeed, the Spirit blows as it will.
Of course, the reading points us to the fact that the good news is the defeat of the principalities and powers and from this victory flows the healing of the nations.
I sometimes wonder if the satan (the accuser) and the devil (the one who divides) rubs his hands together and sits back content as we do his work and try to build a temple to our own way of doing things and then argue about the details. We need to trust that God can work it out and that the tree of life is on both sides of the river and continually renewing itself.
We are sustained by a river not a building, renewed fruit and healing leaves, not a system.
The good news we can share is that the cross has defeated the principalities and powers and forgiveness and healing flow from the throne of the resurrected One seated with God. In Christ we receive peace and God comes and makes his home in us so that we no longer are bound by our attachments and failings. We are the new heavens as it were. We are free to be blessed and bless and the gates never close.
Today’s readings are scandalous.
During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” …we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us… The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us…
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. ..Let all the ends of the earth revere him.
Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5
…I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. …The nations will walk by its light… Its gates will never be shut by day–and there will be no night there…nothing unclean will enter it…the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more.…
Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. …Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
We meet at the chapel on a Wednesday evening at 8pm until 8-40pm for a period of prayer including 20 minutes silent prayer during school term time