I’ve been reading in the book of Revelation this week–a fitting preparation for All Saints on Saturday and an interesting parallel to a fantasy trilogy I also happen to be reading. All those end-of-the-age narratives are swirling in my mind and trying to find a way to settle into sense. I ponder. I wonder. Why must truth be hidden for a time? What is the key that will unlock the mystery? How deep is the deception? How is authority given to the agents of Good and Evil? What does that authority mean? If power is no indication of the right, then how can reason or wisdom discern the truth? Is there any path from reason to wisdom, or is it a leap?
I wonder why cities and wealthy merchants and traders are so important in the story–the selling of luxury goods and human souls. I’m struck by all the imagery of water and wine and blood–the great wine press of the wrath of God, floods of destruction, intoxicating passion, poison forced down the throat, and then the fountain of the water of life, given without payment.
It’s a mighty narrative. Most of the time we hardly know what to do with it, but we can’t let it go. Everybody has a different way of dealing with the story and the imagery, because even if you don’t interpret them, you have deal with their existence. Something to think about.
So here’s a bit of imagery for you. Elvis sing “I, John” which talks about the 144,000–those who stand with the Lamb on Mt.Zion “redeemed from mankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are spotless.” “and they sing a new song…No one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth.” (Rev. 14) I found the paintings that were chosen to illustrate the song quite extraordinary. They’re not the pictures I grew up with, but they’re a window into other minds, and I count that as a good thing.