Wednesday, September 6, 2017
An Invitation to Citizenship
Rev. 11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord
and of his Messiah,
and he will reign forever and ever.”
Rev. 11:16 Then the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 singing,
“We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty,
who are and who were,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
The heavens are opened for John and he writes that which he sees. It is a revelation of the work of God and the kingdom of our Lord which is already actively engaged in our world. We see the earthly kingdoms, those which create boundaries and laws and struggle with maintaining peace. Peel back the curtains and we see the kingdom of the Lord in which the Prince of Peace reigns forever.
This kingdom of the Lord is already at work and the twenty-four elders symbolize those who have already actively stepped into life as citizens of the new kingdom. They model worship for us where the kingdom provides deliverance from evil. It is an invitation into never-ending praise and an on-going awareness of the already of the kingdom of God.
Watching the news these days is quite troubling for the kingdoms of this world seem to be having trouble getting along. Egos seem to continually get in the way of genuinely finding ways to lovingly care for humanity. The onslaught of unusually destructive weather makes us ask ourselves some really serious questions about what is going on. The earth seems to be groaning while humanity continues to be driven by self-interest. All of this in complete conflict with the kingdom of our Lord.
We must join John in peering into the heavenlies and seeing that the kingdom of our Lord is already at work. We are invited to become active citizens of the new kingdom. The twenty-four elders represent those who are “all in.” That is, they are wholeheartedly committed to the kingdom of the Lord and therefore their priority and focus is on God. This doesn’t mean that they ignore what is happening on earth, but that they recognize that the source of their engagement comes from their relationship with the new kingdom.
My mother was born in Canada and has always been proud of her citizenship. However, knowing that they were going to be living in Germany, my mother thought maybe she ought to become a US citizen. She did that many years ago, and, at the time was asked to give up her Canadian citizenship. This broke her heart and while she no longer had the documents, she's always been a Canadian in her heart. A few years ago Canada gave her back her citizenship. She was thrilled! They also gave citizenship to her children. That means that I am also a Canadian citizen. One of my brothers called to see what that meant for us and how he could obtain legal documents. He was told, "you are a Canadian citizen. All you need to do is to claim that citizenship." The same was true for all of us children -- we are citizens, we just need to claim it!
While the news may be discouraging, we lean into the new kingdom and the hope that we find in Christ. We know that ultimately this life is just temporary, but what Christ has established is eternal. Sin and evil will continue to wreak havoc on this earth, but Jesus is ultimately victorious. That is why we lean into the hope of the kingdom. We live as fully engaged citizens of the kingdom of our Lord where everything is radically transformed. This begins and ends with genuine worship of our God who is already on the throne. The invitation to citizenship is available to all; we just need to claim it!
Let’s claim our kingdom citizenship and then live “all in!”
Lord, we thank you for your victory over evil. Please, help me to live daily in my new citizenship. Amen.