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.
The Book of Revelation is a difficult book to read and understand. Even more than other Scripture, the wild imagery and language require background and interpretation. The loudest and most insistent interpretation of Revelation comes from the Left Behind book series and other forms of literalistic interpretation. So, it can be daunting for a faith formation leader to dive right into these texts.
So, one of the main suggestions is to do your research! Dr. Craig Koester has excellent resources on the Book of Revelation, and the Enter the Bible online resource also has a good summary (also written by Dr. Koester).
It’s important to remember that the Book of Revelation was a letter (see Revelation 1:4) and was written to communicate, not to confuse, and uses a literary genre not uncommon at the time. One of the main points of the book is encourage followers of Christ to persevere through the troubles of this world and to worship the one true God, while condemning the ways opposed to God that are characterized by violence, idolatry, and greed.
Our text this week is Revelation 4, the entire chapter. This is the first scene after the individual messages to the “seven churches that are in Asia,” and consists of a visually stunning description of the throne room of God, in which God is at the center and is worshipped and praised. This is a stylized image of God’s kingdom, in which God’s will of order, peace, and joy is supreme. This is set up against the kingdom of this world, in which idolatry, violence, oppression, and injustice rule.
Especially for younger disciples, it is important not to get hung up on the confusing and exotic details here. The purpose of this passage is not to provide information on God’s interior decorating, but to show and inspire joyful worship of God our Creator. No matter what faith formation context you are planning for, the goal should be to inspire joyful worship of God. Remind participants of how wonderful God is and all that God has done for them. Teach about what worship means and the variety of ways we can do it. Provide opportunities for music and singing, art and color. Recreate the meaning of this passage in your own setting, as this description is intended to inspire worship here and now.
-Gregory Rawn (Publisher)
This week’s FREE resource is from the Spirit and Truth: Teaching Kids the Heart of Worship (PK-2nd) curriculum, which has units that explain the major words and concepts of worship in the liturgy, as well as the meaning behind eleven of the major church festivals. Each lesson includes a story (both as a picture book and a longer story book) 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 (3rd-6th) curriculum, which uses humorous, readers-theater skits instead of stories to explain the liturgy and church festivals.