By David Baumann
A Reading from Revelation 22:12-17, 21
12 “See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
14 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. 15Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practises falsehood.
16 “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.”
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
And let everyone who hears say, “Come.”
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.
We are all sinners; we all fall short of the glory of God. We know this. But one might consider that sinners fall into two categories. There are those who, to one degree or another, truly wish that they could do better. There are also those who have chosen evil as a way of life. I’m oversimplifying, of course; no one can truly know the heart of any other person. But still, I think there is something to this insight. The lesson for today notes the difference between those who “love and practice falsehood” and “those who wash their robes.” Clearly, all are sinners, but only some want to be washed.
Somehow, even though this lesson is about the final and eternal separation of these two categories, it dazzles with resplendent joy and glory. Jesus describes himself as one who recompenses, rather than judges — that is, he merely reveals what everyone has chosen in his heart. And then he affirms that he is “Alpha and Omega, first and last, beginning and end.” These are common titles in scripture, but what overwhelming meaning they convey! All things subsist in him throughout all time and space; that means that apart from him, there is simply nothing! The Spirit and the Bride — the Church and her guardian and guide the Spirit — in concert, appeal for the coming of Jesus and the fulfillment of these things; all the faithful echo that prayer, and Jesus responds that indeed he shall come soon. The result of Jesus’ Coming is seen to be the glorification of all that is true to him, and holy, good, and faithful: glorification beyond all hope and dream. Those who find no place in these things, no place shall be made for them. Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! So ends the Bible.
David Baumann has been an Episcopal priest for 47 years, mainly in the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of Springfield. He is now retired and has published nonfiction, science fiction novels, and short stories.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
Diocese of Ezo (South Sudan) and the Rt. Rev. John Kereboro Zawo
Diocese of Faisalabad (Pakistan) and the Rt. Rev. John Samuel
Diocese of Falkland Islands and the Rt. Rev. Timothy Thornton
Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, Tallahassee, Fla.