Great Plains Daily Devotional for 6/15/2021

Today please be in prayer for

Prairie View of Waverly, KS UMC
Waverly, KS UMC
Five Rivers District
Clearfield UMC
Wellsville UMC
Five Rivers District
Ottawa: Union Chapel UMC
Williamsburg, KS UMC
Five Rivers District
Worden UMC
Five Rivers District

Today's Lectionary Text

Revelation 21:1-6

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.

Today's Devotional

The Revelation to John is arguably one of the least understood letters of the New Testament, yet it makes for a fascinating study with many different understandings. I want to share some of my understandings in this devotion. In John's apocalyptic writing, there are multiple images which are fantastic in scope, sometimes violent and sometimes lurid and frightening. Yet for me, the fear of the Revelation dissolves when the images are seen in the context of code. John was in exile and was writing to early churches of the 1st century. One can imagine that John could not openly express opposition to the Romans or the Jews, but could speak encoded encouraging words to early followers of Jesus Christ, who were being persecuted and martyred. Revelation also changes for me when it is understood not as prediction for future times but as assurances in 1st century times to an oppressed people. Yes, I said assurances.
Throughout Revelation, there are assurances that no matter what ordeals the people are going through, no matter what trials and tribulations they face, there is nothing that can separate them from the love of God in Jesus Christ. This is not a promise to deliver early Christians from pain and suffering or to provide a way out, but rather it is a promise to be with them in the ordeal, and help them find the way through. The words we hear today in Chapter 21 promise a new heaven and a new earth, not only for early Christians but for us as well, for we may not face persecution and death, but do we not face trials and tribulations of our own? We are promised that God will "wipe away every tear and pain and suffering will be no more" and God will "make all things new" because God is the "beginning and the end." Once again I have two understandings - one is the promise of an eternal life/new heaven and the other is heaven on earth, where God assures us we can live into his promises now in the way we live our lives, respond to our difficulties and how we live out his love.
-Rev. Galen Wray, Retired Elder

Prayer for Reflection

Loving God, thank you for your love for us in Jesus Christ, and for your presence leading us through hard times, and for reassuring us and that you can make all things new for us and of us. Amen.


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