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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, November 4, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Revelation 7:9–17

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (NRSV)

Reflection
It is the day after Election Day. Though it may not yet be clear who the next president of the United States will be, one thing is certain. There are winners and losers.

With that as a backdrop, sitting here in mid-September with this text from Revelation is a good exercise in perspective. While I believe that the outcome of this election is critically important, I know that those who hold views radically different from my own do too.

Yet the vision remains. There we are, all together, wearing white robes and holding palm branches (traditional symbols of victory), singing praises to the Lamb of God. All of us—“from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages”—are trying to work out how to do this life, with its great ordeals and ecstatic joys, in the context of faith in Jesus Christ.

Revelation was written during a time of ruthless persecution. But as the study notes in the New American Bible point out, “The triumph of God in the world of men and women remains a mystery to be accepted in faith and longed for in hope. It is a triumph that unfolded in the history of Jesus of Nazareth and continues to unfold in the history of individual Christians who follow the way of the cross.”

Whoever won or lost, triumph is ours.

Prayer
God of time and history, I know that you are present in moments of jubilation and grief. And that you are greater than any moment or election cycle. Be with me today as I meet what is and is to come. Guide me to the springs of the water of life so that I will always remember my source and destination, the source of destination of us all. Through our brother Jesus, the eternal victor. Amen.

Written by Susan Quaintance, Director, Center for Life and Learning

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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