An invitation from a "purple"
Psalm 67 Choirmaster please note - stringed instruments please!
Revelation 21:10,22 - 22:5 Then he showed me the river of the water of life...
John 14:23-29 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
or John 5:1-9 At the Sheep Gate a man is healed without troubled water...
No full sermon this week because I have been too busy collecting Christian Aid envelopes and I am using someone else's this week.
I am using the sermon printed in The Expository Times (April 1998, Volume
109, Number 7). It is the sermon for Easter 6, entitled, "Hope". It is written
by Dr. Susan J. White of Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, Texas.
She begins by cataloging some of the whackier uses of the book of Revelation (trashy paperbacks such as "Countdown to Armageddon", periodicals such as "The End-Times News Digest", and wrist-watches bearing the message, "One Hour Nearer the Lord's Return.")
She moves on to ask the question whether it is worth bothering with such a complex book, whether there isn't enough in the Bible to get our teeth into without worrying too much about the seemingly impenetrable mysteries of John's vision. But, she notes, the lectionary throws these readings together for us in these weeks immediately following Easter.
On the one hand we have the very "down-to-earth", day-to-day practicality of the book of Acts, cataloging Paul's travels - where he went, who he met, how he got there, what he said when he was there... And on the other hand we have the mystical "other- worldliness" of John's Vision.
She concludes that in this post-easter/pre-ascension period, it is no bad thing for us to be aware of this sense of living in two worlds, to be aware of the "now and not yet" of the Kingdom of God. We see Paul and Peter and the other early christian leaders confronting some of the very real questions that affect life after the resurrection, some of the practical implications of resurrection faith. And then John's vision reminds us very powerfully how countless generations have found in the book of revelation a set of images which have made real for them the promise in John's gospel, the promise of "peace, but not as the world gives." (Jn. 14:27).
"In the vision of nations healed, oppressed people in every age have found hope that borders and sanctions and refugee camps will not last for ever and ever. In the vision of the "river bright as crystal", those dying from hunger and thirst (and we have seen the pictures from the Sudan) they have seen that God has already established a future which is coming ever closer, a future in which the water of life will flow eternally. Political prisoners, exiles, those persecuted for consciences sake are told that the lords of this world will not have the last word, but the true lord of all creation will for ever reign in gentleness and mercy. And those who live in fear of the dark things of the world will find the gates of the City open to them, and they will be bathed in perpetual light.