For the rest of the summer, those following the Narrative Lectionary’s suggested summer readings have two choices: a four-week series on the sacraments (Baptism and Communion), or a four-week series on the Book of Revelation. I have chosen to focus the remain summer blog posts on the texts from Revelation. (See the post for August 13, 2017 for more background information on Revelation.)
As in the text from last week (Revelation 4), chapter 5 is in the throne room of God. A new development arises. The One sitting on the throne is now holding a scroll, full of writing and sealed with seven seals. Some have likened the scroll to a will (e.g. last will and testament) and others for a property deed. Each seal would reveal one section of the scroll, keeping the rest hidden. Only a person with the proper authority was to break the seals and read (execute) the document. The scroll represents the will of God for creation (as a deed it could further represent God’s ownership of the universe) and only one who has the authority to know that will and execute it can break the seals.
John, the recipient of this vision, is distraught that no one could be found with the authority to make God’s will both known and reality. He is then told to look at the mighty conqueror, the Lion of Judah. However, when John turns, he does not see a mighty lion, but a peaceful Lamb. It is true that this Lamb has conquered, but not through violence, but through self-sacrifice. This Lion and Lamb is of course Jesus, the Messiah who died and rose again.
The arrival of Christ, the one who is worthy, is yet another occasion for worship and praise. The throne room is filled with the singing of first the elders and living creatures, then thousands and thousands, and finally every creature in creation.
It is no coincidence if you recognize the songs in Revelation 5 from worship. They, especially the second and third song, have been embedded into the liturgies of many traditions. If this is true in your congregation’s worship, take an opportunity in your faith formation context to make these connections explicit. Even if a participant has never cracked open the Book of Revelation, they might already know some of it! Making these connections (activating prior knowledge) is a way to build understanding and confidence in participants who might be anxious about entering the Bible.
-Gregory Rawn (Publisher)
This week’s FREE resource is from the Spirit and Truth: Teaching Kids the Heart of Worship (3rd-6th) curriculum, which has units that explores the main text of the liturgy, as well as the meaning behind eleven of the major church festivals. Each lesson includes a humorous readers’ theater-style skit as well as a full lesson plan with activities to explore the concepts covered with multiple learning styles. You can also see our Spirit and Truth: Teaching Kids the Heart of Worship (PK-2nd) curriculum, which uses illustrated stories instead of skits to explain the liturgy and church festivals.