There are many ways to understand Revelation, whether it points us to the future or to the past, and whether or not its proclamation of a second coming by Jesus reflects a coming historical event. People of genuine faith hold very different views. Most important is that we approach faith as a whole with passion and relevance–that our interpretations of apocalyptic literature and our reactions to the interpretations and beliefs of others do not divide us from each other and do not prevent us from doing what Jesus taught: “Love one another.” There is a clear biblical priority to work for justice, peace, and compassion among all people. All Christians need to live courageously and with passion as we seek to follow Jesus. It is crucial that we always remember how the Apostle Paul reminded us: “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8: 38-39)
As a fifteen year old, I was drawn to an exciting view of Revelation, one that made my faith seem real, relevant, and important. I no longer believe that particular view reflects good biblical scholarship, but I still find faith to be real, relevant, exiting, and important. This past week, at Church camp, I experienced that reality, relevance, and importance through the majesty of hiking through mountains and woods, the poignancy of sharing life and life stories with others, and the mystical presence of taking time away from usual routine to hear the still, small voice of the Spirit. I was reminded that the presence of God is around us always and the life of God through the Spirit of Christ is in each of us. I believe God waits eagerly for each of us to step up to full partnership with God’s own Spirit in realizing God’s own dream of Shalom. This dream seeks not to destroy evil, but to transform evil into what is good and holy through the power of love. Life doesn’t get more tangible, exciting, and real than that!