May 29th, 2022 – 7th Sunday of Easter
UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF: May 30th – June 5th
Monday……………….. . Memorial Day
Tuesday………………. The Visitation
Wednesday……………. Justin, Martyr
Thursday………………. 10:00 AM Bible Study
Sunday: …………………. 10:00 AM Worship
11:15 AM Bible Study
The Visitation is Mary’s visit to her relative Elizabeth. Elizabeth is assumed to be 6-7 months pregnant with John the Baptists because Luke 1:56 states that Mary stayed “about three months.” It’s assumed that she stayed for the birth and a short time after. If we think about the calendar, the annunciation to Mary was March 25th, so she is two months pregnant with Jesus. She’d be returning to Nazareth 5 months. The great addition to the Christian life that we have from this story in the Magnificat, Mary’s Psalm that mirror’s Hannah’s song from the Old Testament in praise of God’s fulfillment of His promises. My favorite version of it is LSB 933, My Soul Rejoices, but there are 5 version in LSB alone (933-935 plus Vespers and Evening Prayer chants). Singing one on Tuesday might be a fitting piety.
Justin Martyr (c. 100-165 AD) is so often called that, that you might think Martyr was his last name. Justin was from a rather well off pagan family though he was born in Judea. As a young man he found Christ after studying the Greek philosophers and became an apologist for the church. It is from Justin that we have our earliest descriptions of Christian worship. He wrote of a “gathering of all in one place on the Lord’s Day, where the writings of the prophets and apostles were read, the Presider delivered a homily inviting all into the pattern of these good things, prayer was offered and bread and wine were taken, blessed and distributed as the body and blood of the eternal Word.” The Roman account of Justin’s martyrdom survives. One day Justin was commanded to sacrifice to the gods or face torture. His reply to the Roman prefect was “That is our desire, to be tortured for our Lord and so to be saved.”
PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION
I’m not sure why the lectionary spends so long in the last two chapters of Revelation. Theoretically the Epistle Lessons were chosen to allow a lectio continua – a continuous reading – through various New Testament books. But it jumps from chapter 7 to spend three weeks in chapters 21 and 22. I guess you can say there is a small difference between those chapters. 21 is the MTV Cribs picture of the New Jerusalem. Satan has been defeated and put away. This old world has been rolled up and the new heavens and the new earth are created. And the New Jerusalem has come down adorned as a Bride. Maybe you can say chapter 21 is the wedding day. Chapter 22 is the only picture we have of life in the New Jerusalem, life in the age to come.
The first picture is the reappearance of something very old alongside a promise fulfilled. The tree of life grows alongside a river of the water of life. The River fulfills the image of Ezekiel 47:1 with the promise of John 4:10ff to the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus promised living water and here is a full river of it. The tree of life was barred to us by the flaming sword of the cherubim, lest we live forever in our sins (Gen 3). But in the fulfillment there are three notable things. The singular tree now grows along the entire river. Its singular fruit is now 12 kinds each in their season. And most importantly, its leaves are the for the healing of the nations. The tree of life in the New Jerusalem is not barred. No flaming sword denies us. ‘No longer is there anything accursed.” It is worth reflecting that the trees are very fruitful. Food is still taken in the age to come. Also there might be a slight comment on the length of time we spent in the garden. Maybe it only had one fruit, because we only saw one month. Likewise the mention of the leaves being for healing. There is a paradox in not having “mourning or crying or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” and needing “leaves for the healing of the nations.” I have trouble in chapter 22 thinking of this as healing of anything from before because “the former things have passed away.” But life in the New Jerusalem occasionally needs healing. I guess the biggest thing is that it is always abundantly available, unlike here, where some things are just broken and cannot be fixed.
The rest of the picture strikes me as a bit an argument. What is seen is too good to be true, “the big rock candy mountain.” This is probably where Freud grabs the popular idea of religion as wish fulfilment. But the angel – the messenger – pleads with the Apostle John “these words are trustworthy and true…don’t seal up the book, let everyone read.” Unlike the prophet Daniel who was told to seal it up. What he saw was too great for that time. “Now the time is near…Behold I am coming soon.” And you have the repeated plea, “Come”. The Alpha and the Omega, “blessed are those who come wash their robes.” The Spirit and the Bride, “Come.” The one who hears, “Come.” The one who is thirsty, “Come.” The one who desires the water of life, “Come.” It is not wish fulfillment, but divine promise. Christ and the angels and the Holy Spirit and the Church and the great cloud of thirsty drinkers all plead, “Come.” You don’t want to miss this. Come now, because He is coming soon. Amen, come quickly, both you and the Lord Jesus.
- Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – The Exodus – the Plagues
- Confirmation: Completed Year 1, return in the Fall
- Life Application Fellowship (LAF): Summer Break
- Sunday Morning: Going to continue with the Psalms for a Season. Come Join Us in the prayer book of the Bible.
- Catechism Moment: Continuing with the Lord’s Prayer
BOILER NOTICE – Congregational Meeting, Today (May 29th ), after service
We are calling a congregational meeting next week, May 29th after service. The purpose, prayerfully, is to approve the council plan to fix the boiler breakdown.