One of the lesser appreciated parts of Advent is the eschatological anticipation. What I mean is, even as the season looks forward to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, it also anticipates Jesus' arrival, his advent, in the here and now.
When it comes to the glory of God being revealed or "uncovered" in our own reality, the word we use is apocalypse, ἀποκάλυψις in Greek. And when we want to get a good dose of apocalypse we go to the Book of Revelation, which is actually a translation of the word apocalypse.
In Revelation we are treated to cosmic battles, demonic dragons, and visions of both utter destruction and transformative renewal. There is life, there is death, and there are demon locusts!
Yet, even as the Prophet John describes the unmaking of the entire universe, he has a particular group of people in mind, a specific set of congregations: seven churches located in what is now eastern Turkey. John wrote to these churches because they were in the midst of their own 2020 moment.
For these congregations keeping the faith of Jesus could be dangerous, leading to arrest and trial. Keeping the faith could also be exhaustingly inconvenient, resulting in economic hardship and cultural isolation. The churches were growing weary and discouraged. Being church was no longer a life giving, soul restoring experience for them, it was just plain difficult.
In Revelation, John uncovers for these churches the bigger, dare I say cosmic, picture. But before he begins to paint his vision of demonic tribulation and celestial glory, John addresses each of the churches, offering them encouragement and admonishment. These addresses all share a similar outline and a number of words show up again and again. Quite clever words, indeed.
Since we too find ourselves in days of tribulation and isolation, the Liturgisaur will be examining a number of the words that show up in the first three chapters of Revelation. On the Tuesdays and Thursdays in Advent this blog will have a new post about a different apocalyptic word accompanied by a devotion.
I hope you will be able to use these reflections as a spiritual resource as we enter into this season of hope and anticipation.
Pastor Emily and the Liturgisaur
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About the Blog
Journey through the season of Advent with daily updates on the adventures of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Belliacre, MI as they attempt to cobble together a Christmas Pageant with an unlikely cast of characters.
Stephanie is an art educator and a landscape/portrait artist. Her inspirations come from the amazing people she meets and the gorgeous state of Michigan as well as her home state of Florida. She and he husband love nature. They are out in the water during the summer months and on the snow in the winter enjoying the simple pleasures of life.