Monday, July 26, 2010

Rev. 5

"Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?" And no one in heaven or earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And the elders said to me, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals."
-Rev 5:1-5

This is an encouraging passage for me, mostly because emotionally I'm a wreck right now. Currently my mother is in the hospital, as her 10 year battle with cancer has recently taken a turn for the worse. There are a number of treatments available, but her condition is serious and uncertain. Having an ocean between us while she goes through this if excruciatingly difficult. I get sick to my stomach just thinking about it. Equally frustrating is the recognition that even if I was in America I couldn't do anything to make her well.

Meanwhile, my closest and dearest friend here, Julie, will be returning to America in less than 2 weeks. For the past 4 months she has been a wonderful neighbor, coworker, cultural informant, and friend. She has been such a vital part of our community here and the thought of her leaving makes me sad and confused.

And in the midst of this I read Rev. 5 and am encouraged.

Without delving too deeply into the nature or purpose of Apocalyptic literature, the scroll in this passage most likely represents the meaning and purpose of human history. John weeps because no one is found to read the scroll. In the same way we need someone to interpret our own lives. We need to believe that events have meaning and significance. We need to feel connected to a larger story.

This is exactly where I am right now. I do not understand why this is happening, and like John I am mourning.

But Jesus, God's vindicated righteous one, is worthy to open the scroll. In his death and resurrection, Jesus has conquered sin and death and has removed the curse of Genesis 3. This person and his work is intrinsically linked to the telos of all human history. He is the hermeneutical key that interprets our very existence.

Even when consumed by uncertainty, I know that Christ is Lord. He is making all things new and is restoring his people to the Father. I can rejoice in this, even as I mourn.

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