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Let everything that has breath

by davesandel on November 16th, 2022

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

(click here to listen to or read today’s scriptures)

Let everything that has breath

I, John, had a vision.

Plough Magazine offers a very short thought-provoker every morning. Here is one from November 1.

Flee for a while from your tasks, hide yourself for a little space from the turmoil of your thoughts. Come, cast aside your burdensome cares, and put aside your laborious  pursuits. For a little while give your time to God, and rest in him for a little while. Enter into the inner chamber of your mind, shut out all things save God and whatever may aid you in seeking God; and having barred the door of your chamber, seek him. (Anselm of Canterbury 1033-1109)

Now that’s a plan. Not just for Anselm. But for you. And for me.

Anselm had read Revelation. Anselm also read the Gospels, and he is the theological author of the “satisfaction view” of substitutionary atonement, which is an understanding of why Jesus died on the cross and resurrected three days later.  

I don’t know if Anselm had visions, but I would lay odds that he did. Plus, he had John’s vision too, to go by.

I saw an open door to heaven. And that same trumpet voice said, “Come up here! I will show you what must happen,” and at once I was caught up in the air.

I close my eyes and see what I imagine John saw, and it’s wonderful.

A throne, and a glistening presence on the throne, with a brilliant halo. And twenty-four more thrones around that one, with elders sitting on each one. And those elders! They dressed in white garments and wore gold crowns on their heads.

These are just the elders, not even the king! I close my eyes again.

Flashes of lightning from the throne, peals of thunder, rumblings!

I have plenty of tinnitus in my ears, but I’m not about to be distracted by that. There be lightning, and thunder, and the whole earth is shaking.

Seven flaming torches burned in a sea of crystal glass, which are the seven spirits of God.  

Now here John took liberties. Maybe. I don’t know. He says the torches are the seven spirits of God. Are those torches actually God’s spirit(s)? I can imagine Anselm or John saying this, but me, I’m just looking at the scene. Like a picture book without words.

And it gets way better.

Four living creatures around the throne, covered with eyes in front and back.

A horse sees sideways compared to us. I think some animals see behind their heads. My peripheral vision is minimal, compared to that of even a common housefly. And these four living creatures have far more going for them than my own body does:

A lion, a calf, might be a man, a flying eagle. Each one had six wings and they were covered with eyes inside and out.

Twice he tells us about those eyes. Do they blink? Blink at the same time? What color are they?

Day and night they shout, sing, cry out, pray, praise … “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.”

Kairos time presides in John’s vision. There are more references to “forever” than to “day and night.” Even though events seem to happen one after another, Chronos time is not measuring anything. We are not limited by time in this picture or this place. The king runs on Kairos time, this is the land of fulfillment.

Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne (who lives forever and ever), the twenty-four elders fall down and worship him, who lives forever and ever, and they cast down their crowns before the throne and shout, sing, cry out, pray and praise: “Worthy are you, O Lord our God.”

The Four and Twenty Elders Casting their Crowns before the Divine Throne c.1803-5 William Blake, Tate Gallery, London

John’s ears are tuned for words of praise, and he hears them loud and clear.

You receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things. Because of your will they came to be and were created.

Not sure who wrote Psalm 150, but it’s a beautiful way to end the book of Psalms. WITH EVERY AVAILABLE BREATH, PRAISE THE LORD! The psalter, or book of Psalms, begins with the word “Blessed” and ends with “Hallelujah.” These visions in Revelation pick up where the psalms leave off.

Praise the Lord in his sanctuary, praise him in the firmament of his strength!

(Revelation 4, Psalm 150, John 15, Luke 19)

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