Week 50 Friday

The Faithful Multitude

Today’s scripture selection: Revelation 7-11

Key verses: Revelation 7:9-10

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

I rarely meet anyone who says that the New Testament Book of Revelation is easy reading.  It’s full of complicated, often graphic, sometimes comforting, sometimes disturbing imagery.

And, these days, all you need to say is “end times” and people come out of the woodwork with all sorts of theories.

But regardless of the details of interpretation – I think most people would find the above verses comforting.  This idea of a great faithful multitude, “from every nation, tribe, people and language” standing before the throne of God, in praise and worship – it’s a great scene.

All the “tribulation” is set aside, at least for awhile, and we have this glorious scene of the faithful people of God – as one – gathered in thankful adoration.

How different this is from the world today.

There are so many different manifestations of religious expression, even within that great umbrella called Christianity.  And many times the differences of belief and practice among the various denominations go well beyond polite disagreement.  Too often there is open hostility.

Contrast that with this revelation that portrays a faithful multitude that isn’t made up of any one “denomination” or national or cultural expression.

Here, the kingdom of God is at hand – in all its unified glory.

For now, it’s just a dream – a vision – an ever unfolding “revelation”.  And the Church, visible and invisible, will do what it does until that one glorious day when all is finally explained and revealed.

In the meantime…it’s still a nice picture – something to look forward to in faith and expectation…one holy people of God together in never ending praise.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to further the coming of your kingdom, however and whenever it comes.  AMEN.

 

 

 

 

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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