“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8
This passage gives me hope. Over three weeks I have officiated at three memorial services. Two were for women in their 90’s who had lived long and good lives, although they had their share of challenges. The other was for a women in her 60’s who died very unexpectedly from an aneurism right before Easter. She, too, faced challenges in her life, and one of them was struggling with depression. Life hands us challenges all the time, and the loss of loved ones, a job, a relationship, income, mobility, health, or other experiences that come out way can be difficult.
The book of Revelation has a lot of rather bizarre images in it, but the ultimate message is that God is in charge and God will make things right. How does that happen? There are many folks who can’t see or won’t believe it. Yet, over and over again, I have had parishioners tell me that they would never have made it through their problems without the strength of God in their lives.
God’s promise is that we aren’t alone, that Jesus experienced what we experience in our lives and understands, that God has been, is now, and will forever be there for us and for all generations. We will face physical problems and emotional upheavals at times, but we keep on keeping on because of God’s love for us and the knowledge that Jesus, the Christ has overcome even death because God raised him from the dead. We have hope because of the living Christ.
Revelation was written for people who were being persecuted. The early Christians needed hope, and the vision of John that is recorded in Revelation was their hope. It was subversive and disputed the Roman belief that Caesar was a god and lord of all. It promised that those who rejected God would “get theirs” in the end. In the end, we all have to stand before our Maker and be accountable for our lives. We can live in the hope and promise that we have forgiveness of sins and salvation through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Our God is with us, encouraging us, leading us, teaching us, and helping us to put one foot in front of the other every day no matter what our circumstances.
That is cause for celebration! God is God of the past, present and future and won’t abandon us! Hallelujah!