5 April 2021Revelation 1:12-18
'Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one.' (v. 17)
The author of the Book of Revelation uses complex imagery to speak hope into the lives of Christians who were facing great challenges. Sometimes the full richness of that symbolism is lost to us today, but occasionally, as in these verses, the message is crystal clear, ‘’Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one’’. (vs 17-18) It was a message of hope to the Early Church, that in spite of everything, and because of Christ’s death and Resurrection: ‘’God is with us’’.
In my first appointment, I was a hospice chaplain in Portsmouth. On reflection, I was deeply enriched by the patients and families, for as we chatted over a cup of tea they would often say something poignant, humorous or profound.
One day, as we sat in the conservatory, a man commented on the daffodils swaying in the garden. He asked if I would wheel him outside so that he could see them more closely. The two of us, at different ends of life’s journey, stared at the bold, yellow trumpeting flowers swaying in the wind.
He knew that this would be his last spring, and he was making the most of it. Somehow his mortality was sharpening his sense of the time he had. This daffodil was a sign of beauty and transience. Without feigned emotion he leant over and said, “I have had a good life – but I do wish that I had given myself more time to stop, think and be thankful.”
- Today you might remember in prayer the work of hospitals and hospice chaplains who minister Christ’s words ‘’Do not be afraid.’’
- Whether we anticipate many years of spring daffodils or just a few, can we take time today to ‘’stop, think and be thankful"?
- What parts of this passage from the Book of Revelation do you find most challenging to interpret? Is there someone you could share your thoughts with?