Revelation 7:9-17 (NRSV)
Verse 9After 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. Verse 10They cried out in a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!" Verse 11And 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, Verse 12singing, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen."
Verse 13Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, "Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?" Verse 14I 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. Verse 15For 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. Verse 16They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; Verse 17for 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."
Ordinarily being seated right in front of the salad bar at the Capt’n Steak Joynt would be no big deal, were it not for having my jaw wired together for the next six weeks, as I sucked my nutritional drinks through a straw, longing for those delicious tastes which were suddenly inaccessible to me.
Of course, all of that pales in comparison to the longing of the seven churches of Revelation living as marginalized communities under the oppressive realm of the Roman Empire. Yet suddenly before them there is a beautiful vision beyond the world’s suffering, beyond hunger and thirst, beyond strife, beyond sorrow. It is the hope into which they are being called in Jesus Christ.
In a world still broken, in a world where oppression too often still seems to have its way, we also live in this eschatological hope in a God whose promise is to one day bring an end to suffering.
Gracious God, you who have promised to bring all things under your reign, let the world begin to live into your promise. Amen.