Reading: Revelation 8
Advent Theme: Silence
The seventh seal brings silence in heaven. In John’s vision, there is a short pause in the midst of chaos for silence. More than simply the absence of sound, silence can be restful, healing, or useful for focus. This pause in the action allows the suspense to build.
Then the silence ends, the seven trumpets sound, and there is ecological destruction. When people want to take apocalyptic literature literally, they comb through history to match details to what they perceive to be prophecy. Instead, we remember that John is using exaggerated language to make a point and to refocus his audience on what is important.
By describing ecological disasters, John reminds his readers- then and now- that improper worship harms creation. When we worship world leaders, or profit margins, or our own brand, we lose track of God’s first gift to humankind- the invitation to be stewards of the earth. Improper worship means we are spiritually betting the farm that still belongs to our Divine Parent.
Revelation reminds the reader not that these things are happening, but that they can and will happen because of the poor stewardship of the powers and principalities of this world. It is up to those who would be conquerors, who seek to walk the Way of Christ, to work for the good of creation.
Potential takeaway: How often do we remember that care for creation is the other half of our baptismal charge? We are sent out to “care for others and the world that God made”. Faithful living includes careful and judicious use of natural resources, respect for animals, and support for the vocations of farming, ranching, and fishing. Looking for God’s presence and guidance around our natural resources is part of what Christians are called to do- in all times and places.
Holy God, Your farm is all creation. Guide me in the stewardship of the resources near me, that I may take seriously the role of being a co-creator with you in this world. I do not want to be lukewarm about your creation, but zealous in care and compassion for the world you have made. Amen.