Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Revelation 8:1 5 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
Another angel with a golden censer came and stood at the altar; he was given a great quantity of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar that is before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth; and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
I must admit that my first reaction when I saw these verses as one of the readings for today was to run (or scroll or click) as fast and as far as I could in the opposite direction. But I remembered a Sunday school lesson taken from Revelation that I taught not too long ago. This lesson, from our Encounter series, was well received and welcomed by the class. I will share some of those words here, including my lesson title: “Che, Sera, Sera” (You may remember the song… “what will be, will be”).
I told the class that day that I, personally, take the view that Revelation was primarily—a letter to the seven churches and, as such, can be interpreted in the perspective of the times in which it was written and according to the beliefs and politics of the day. Like most of the scriptures, it has meaning for that time—but that meaning may also be interpreted as applicable to the Christian experience in future times—including the present day.
That title, “Che, Sera, Sera” was not meant to be flip or dismissive of the scriptures, but to remind us that our future is in the hands of God, and God alone knows how and when Jesus will return. We can agonize and parse and argue, but Jesus, himself, states that clearly and authoritatively.
So, we might look at the book of Revelation as God’s promises rather than God’s threats. If that is the case, we can interpret these verses as a reassurance that prayer is effective—God hears the prayers of the saints and acts on them, according to God’s will. This is true today and it will be true at the end of time.
In the words of Julian of Norwich: “…all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
God of the past, present, and future, we know that you hear our every prayer—from the smallest whisper to the loudest shout. Add our petitions to the prayers of the saints, so that we may confidently wait for your will to be done in all things. Amen
Go with God!