Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Revelation 22:12-16 (NRSV)
“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
Oftentimes, verses like these are read through a lens that is “us and them.” In this case, we delight to think about “us” being the folks walking through the city in our freshly cleaned robes and getting our righteous selves straight to the tree of life. We sometimes shrug our indifferent shoulders at “them,” those people outside the city, the sinners, the unrepentant, the ones who don’t deserve the good things that we have earned by our own work.
But read the scripture again: the Good News is never “us and them.” We all begin outside of the city. We all find ourselves as part of the company of dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, seamlessly blending in with the crowd of those who love and practice falsehood. Sin sticks to us, both individually and corporately. Regret does not make it go away, nor does wishful thinking diminish it. But the Good News is good news indeed for us all. While we all begin outside of the city, we all may enter by the gates. Redemption is bigger than regret and wishful thinking, as washing our robes we ready ourselves to be welcomed into the City of God.
God of wisdom and strength, pour into us the courage to take off our dirty robes, strengthen us for the task of washing, guide us as we strive to follow your commandments, and let us never tire of loving others as you have loved us. In Christ’s name, precious and holy, we pray. Amen.
Go with God!