I used to read the book of Revelation as a detective, trying to ferret out details and establish a chronology of what was going on, with the goal of understanding what would happen at the end of time. This is how I had been taught to read it, as if it was a novel containing a mystery that had to be solved. This was the era of Hal Lindsey’s “Late Great Planet Earth”, whose theology and eschatology (doctrine of last things) found later expression in Frank Peretti’s fictional series “Left Behind”.
Sadly, by reading Revelation that way, I missed most of what it was designed to do in me. I missed the deep hope that is found in it. I missed the calls to worship that are embedded in the text. I missed the invitation to wonder, to grow strong and courageous, and to persevere. It occurs to me that these are the sorts of things we need more than ever today, as we grapple with the world’s brokenness and seek to live lives that participate in God’s in-breaking Kingdom. Continue reading