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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, May 7, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Revelation 5:11–14

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, “To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (RSV)

The Book of Revelation was written to believers who were under great persecution, threat, and torture. It is a resistance letter that claims that the true Ruler of this world is not the Roman Empire but the God made known in Jesus, the Messiah, “the ruler of kings on earth” (Revelation 1:5). While I find it difficult to relate with that particular historical context, where I can relate with the grand vision of Revelation is at those times when I have struggled with issues that have seemed overwhelming and insurmountable. A marriage that was not working. A child with special needs. A vocation in which I felt inadequate and ill-equipped. These were the times when I felt completely alone and cried out for a Savior. But I saw no savior come in obvious or dramatic ways. It was through a counselor, a social worker at our child’s school, an inspired idea that mysteriously came at just the right time, a group of fellow strugglers who let me know I was not alone after all. And it was often during worship when my eyes were opened to the Source of all these blessings. Through a sermon preached that mysteriously spoke to exactly what I was going through; a scripture that was read; an anthem or hymn that was sung.

It was at these times I discovered what true worship was: to sing “the new song” (Revelation 5:9), “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.” Could it be that the God who rules the universe has suffered for me and so feels my “sufferings”? And more than this, because he rose again to be with me forever (Matthew 28:20), my sufferings and struggles can be more like his—to help “save” others. This is why I love Eastertide, these fifty days following Easter. It is a time to sing “the new song” that the Savior’s suffering was not the end of the story but the beginning of a resurrection life for us to help each other to live.

Loving God, thank you for being our Savior in life and in death. Open our eyes now to see your saving presence each day. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Written by David Handley

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