What do you hear? What do you see? How does the ‘Seer’ speak to you?

In the Sunday Morning Forum (5/5/13) we looked at the Book of Revelation (in a general way) and the appointed reading, Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5 (in a specific way).

In general: What we are hearing (reading, if we must) is a book [Revelation] that is (a) prophetic in content, (b) apocalyptic in form, and (c) pastoral in intent.

Prophetic: the function of the prophet is to interpret history as reflecting the action of God. What we see is what is happening on the human scale; what is really going on is the work of God.

Apocalyptic in form: the word apocalypse is the Greek equivalent of revelatio in Latin. It means to unveil or disclose. What is really going on in history is not evident until the prophet draws back the curtain to show what he has seen.

Pastoral in intent: John writes to strengthen and encourage his fellow Christians in a time of peril. Horrors he knows: he has witnessed (or heard about) the execution of Christians in Rome under Nero in 64, the fall of Jerusalem at the end of the Jewish War in 70, the civil war after the death of Nero in 69, a vast destruction resulting from the eruption of Vesuvius in 80.

Revelation by Holt H. Graham on Bible Briefs from VTS

Another Resource for your Bible study

If the pastoral intent long ago was “to strengthen and encourage … fellow Christians in a time of peril” let us assume the intent is the same today. What ‘perils’ do you hear about? What perils do you see? What does the ‘Seer‘ speak to you as you process what you hear and see? The conversation on Sunday was lively. There is much around us to cause fear, dismay, despair. More importantly, as we looked more closely at the text of Revelation (a text we’ve been reading for a while now) we did indeed find encouragement.

Share your thoughts in the Comment section. We want to continue the conversation.

Wind Chimes: 8 Oct 2012

On Sunday, October 7, 2012 we began reading from the Book of Job in our worship (which uses the Revised Common Lectionary to inform scripture choices for our Sunday worship). We will continue to read from this book for the remaining Sundays in October. Among the themes explored in this ‘parable’ are good, evil, God, creation, fate, suffering, pain, faith, doubt, lament, praise, and more. Here are some of today’s sounds in the Wind Chimes as we explore the Book of Job.
What do you hear?

“On the Church in the Modern World”

This ‘Pastoral Teaching’ of the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on December 7, 1965. Often referenced by it’s Latin title, Gaudium et Spes, it is one of the documents of Vatican II (1962-1965). Consider these words from the teaching:

…the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. Thus, in language intelligible to each generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which men ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other. We must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, its explanations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics. (Gaudium et spes, No. 4; emphasis mine)

The questions of Job, the responses of Job’s friends, Job’s own response to his plight, the role of God in deprivation, suffering, and pain, the presence of God in the midst of these things, are not just parts of an ancient story but contemporary questions (“perennial questions”) of folks like you me, questions addressed to the Church. So what do we learn from Job and what do we hear the Spirit singing in the chimes?

A contemporary story of faith and struggle and hope beginning with cancer

Cover of the book You mean besides the cancer?If everyone’s life is a book, and every day a page, then there are some days that deserve to be dog-eared. Your high school graduation, your wedding day, the birth of your children, and the day that your doctor discusses cancer with you for the first time.

If you are a caregiver, or about to be one, this book can hopefully shortcut the learning curve that sliced me to shreds.

This book is the story of my wife’s cancer and our journey through the medical system that eventually led us to one of the most cutting edge, lifesaving surgeries on earth.
—Bob Marcotte introducing You Mean Besides the Cancer?

I am proud to call Bob and Carole Marcotte my friends. Carole is living with cancer. Bob is her primary caregiver. Bob has journaled his thoughts and made them available to others in his book and his blog You mean besides the cancer? I encourage you to explore (and  buy) the book.

A prayer

Dear Lord, for all in pain we pray to thee,
O come and smite again thine enemy.
Give to thy servants skill to soothe and bless,
And to the tired and ill give quietness.
And, Lord, to those who know pain may not cease,
Come near, that even so they may have peace.
Amy Carmichael (1868-1951) in Lyn Klug, ed., Soul Weavings: A gathering of women’s prayers, p. 48