I don’t often preach a sermon that deconstructs a piece of scripture, but I try to do so about two or three times a year. I also don’t often offer an apologia for a posting, either, but here they both are. I have learned to listen for the breath and soul of Jesus in biblical texts. If I do not have a sense of this, then I am sure that the pericope (portion of text) has nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus or his agenda of forgiveness and love. Haters hate and lovers love, and sometimes the haters are compelled to overlay their hate on Jesus’ love. For my readers who are my colleagues and this thinking is old hat, sorry for revisiting old knowledge. For those who may have a conservative mind-set and be uneducated in the liberal way of making meaning and have stumbled on this blog unawares and are shocked, get over it and learn. As my headliner states, these are “Thoughts by an Unrepentently Liberal Christian.” Deal… and don’t be stuck in the box you have found yourself!
Revelation 21:1-8 — The Message
I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.” Then he said, “It’s happened. I’m A to Z. I’m the Beginning, I’m the Conclusion. From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty. Conquerors inherit all this. I’ll be God to them, they’ll be sons and daughters to me. But for the rest—the feckless and faithless, degenerates and murderers, sex peddlers and sorcerers, idolaters and all liars—for them it’s Lake Fire and Brimstone. Second death!”
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Visions and Dreams
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved
This reading begins
with a beautiful Vision
of the New Jerusalem.
Our tears are gone.
Our heartache is gone.
Death is gone. No crying, no pain.
Just a beautiful vision — for nice people like us —
reborn, healed, happy.
Then the beauty begins to tarnish.
I hear a voice-change,
I read an insertion into the original text,
and a voice unlike Jesus appears.
For not only is everything we deem bad gone,
but anything we don’t like as well.
Bad political systems —
Mean people —
Those who do not choose to follow our path,
or believe as we do,
or doing the obvious nasty things,
get terror and death and eternal torture,
for this writer sics God on them
to do what the writer cannot.
A sociopathic nastiness
upon a godly proclamation.
Flat out revenge
guised as divine intention.
The unrepentant hater
pretending to be God’s chosen.
All that is evil
infiltrating the Christian ethos
to pervert the intention of Jesus our Christ,
and inserted into the writings of the church
as if it were sacred thought.
So, why don’t we be just a little careful here?
This literary form of apocalyptical thinking
is why I avoid the book of Revelation like poison oak.
BEWARE OF HATEFUL VISIONS!!!
this last part of the text
as unworthy of the God
with whom I trust my eternity!
I do not for one moment believe that God,
or any heaven-sent messenger
would suggest that viciousness and torture
were choices of the divine being for any part of creation!
You know this, too.
If you do not know this on a conscious level,
you surely know this
in the depths of you heart and soul.
In the marrow of our bones we know this as truth:
Joy, love, abundance, peace, healing
are the divine, cosmic, heavenly intention for all —
the lovers, the violent, the evil doers, the hopers, the dreamers,
“the rest—the feckless and faithless, degenerates and murderers,
sex peddlers and sorcerers, idolaters and all liars,”
all of us,
blessed to spend an eternity
with the God of all,
in an environment of
love and joy and healing and peace.
The Time Has Come For Love —