I find myself at a kill two birds with one stone moment, and I'm going to involve you all. You're welcome!
On the one hand, I very badly want to keep up with the discipline of reading the daily lectionary. I find that when I am truly diving into the word, I am much better able to keep my day in check. Too often I get sucked into my own head, my own grumpy thoughts, and my own agenda. The lectionary has this beautiful habit of pulling me out to see the world from a Kingdom perspective.
On the other hand, I have this blog that has been sitting here idle for a few months. For a little while, I was contemplating a Vlog like my friends Casey Neistat or Peter McKinnon (I don't really know them, but they feel like my friends!), but the first couple of passes at that seemed...well...
Plus, writing is my first love. I am not always the best at it, but as with all things I recognize that when I write more, I write better. So I wanted to dust the blog off, bring some fresh content, and get this thing rolling again.
And so, with those two thoughts on my mind, I welcome you to a new series at the J-Blog: Lectionerdy. My goal is to write every Tuesday-Friday about the daily lectionary. Saturdays will be touch and go, and Sundays and Mondays are surely out because there's no way I can blog and juggle twin toddlers at the same time. But my encouragement would be that we all read along with the lectionary every day, and I invite you to hop in the conversation with me. Think of it as a blog Bible study!
So with that long intro out of the way, today's texts are:
Psalm 123, 146
I have been reading the lectionary off and on for a whole bunch of years, and it seems like Revelation is always a part of the readings. Maybe they just want a constant state of confusion for everybody? But if you are jumping in with me to the lectionary right now, just know that it's going to be weird right out of the gates.
*Author's note: if you search Giphy for "weird," awesome things will happen. Trust me.
Today's reading deals with the apocalyptic vision of Babylon the Great, which at various points along the way is a city, a nation, and a lady. We could spend hours debating what John really meant with this image, what he was trying to poke at, but let's take a second and engage in a thought experiment, one proposed to me by the great Tony Campolo: what if America is Babylon?
"Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: 'Woe! Woe to you, great city, you mighty city of Babylon! In one hour your doom has come!' The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore..."
So what we see here is a nation that has been wealthy, and has engaged the nations of the world in that wealth through trade and commerce. We can relate, right? We are among the strongest economies of the world, and the strength of that economy has implications for the rest of the world. And it also seems from context that this place known as Babylon has fallen in love with the wealth they've amassed, They like being the center of the economic world.
And, scripture tells us, it only takes an hour for the whole thing to come crashing down.
Think about it. How quickly does the stability of money fall apart when the money fails us? How quickly can a market crash or a bubble burst send us into a tail spin, ripe with fear and longing and disaster? Some times disasters don't even need an hour to come to fruition. It could all come falling apart in a matter of minutes.
And the choir of the kingdom has an interesting reaction when this all goes down:
"Rejoice over her, you heavens! Rejoice, you people of God! Rejoice, apostles and prophets! For God has judged her with the judgement she imposed on you."
At first glance, maybe this seems a bit harsh. Are the citizens of the Kingdom really pleased at someone else's downfall? Are they really that vindictive?
Or is it that they recognize that when an unworthy source of trust fails, you find yourself opened up to new sources?
If money is the only thing you trust in, when it fails you will be in trouble. Your whole world will fall apart. You won't have a really solid compass to guide you through life. And you'll start looking for another one. Or perhaps you've placed your trust in a political party or ideology, and it turns out that they can't solve all the problems you are facing. Where do you turn?
I think John is offering us an out before we ever find that disaster in our lives. What if you placed your trust in the Kingdom now, before the other sources of trust fail you? What if your trust was neither in the donkey or the elephant, but in the lamb that was slain? What if your trust wasn't in the contents of your wallet, but rather in your ability to empty it for those in need? These aren't habits and virtues that have to wait until the end of the world. These are habits and virtues that are available to us in the here and now.
As always, comments are welcome. But my encouragement is to make sure you read all the lectionary readings for the day before diving in, just so we're on the same page.
See you tomorrow!