After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice, saying,
“Salvation belongs to our God
who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing,
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving
and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:9-17
John is blessed with a glimpse of what it might be like to enlist in God’s reign and exist in God’s peace. The divisiveness of nationality, the prejudices of differences are forgotten as all peoples come together to praise God. There is one congregation, one church, and it joins all its separate voices together in harmony glorifying God. John saw this as the church of the future. John also saw this as our template for bringing the church to life in our own time.
Instead of being just another organization lobbying for what it deems important, the church is challenged by this vision in Revelation. We are called to become a promise, a pledge, a foretaste, an embodied symbol of something which is to come in its fullness in God’s own time.
Prayer: Almighty and ever loving God, prepare our hearts for the gifts you seek to offer us as we gather again in General Assembly. Strengthen and inspire our Commissioners and Delegates that they may provide for us glimpses of the Church you call us to be. Fill all with your Spirit that our divisive and prejudice natures are overwhelmed by the unity of our praise for you. Might our time of discernment lead us to the mission and ministry you desire. Amen.
Synod of Living Waters