And He Shall Reign For Ever and Ever


Today's lectionary reading comes to us from Revelation 11:15-19, which might seem like an odd choice.  Here is what it says:
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.”
If you thought those words sounded a bit familiar, you've probably heard them sung before, even if you've never really read them.  That last line is prominent in the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah: 

"The kingdoms of this earth have become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ... and he shall reign for ever and ever..."  


With no shame, I will say that when I hear that part of the chorus sung... I always get choked up.  And I haven't really thought about exactly why this is so.  And so today I decided to think about it, especially in light of our current situation.


When you listen to the "Hallelujah Chorus" there's a feeling of anticipation that builds up to that particular line about the "kingdom of our Lord."  Listen to it again if you need to, in order to hear what I'm saying. 

You can hear that as the music progresses layer upon layer is added to the vocal parts, the music builds to a crescendo, and then all of it comes together at once with the proclamation from Revelation 11.

So the very structure of the chorus is designed to evoke a response when you hear that line.  The excitement has been growing for a while, and when it culminates with the declaration that the kingdom of God has come... it's incredible.  

But here's the reason why I get choked up every time I hear it.  It's because I know the world isn't as it should be, but that one day it will be.  

And every day there are signs and symbols of the kingdom of God breaking through, which means my deep longings for a better world, for peace, for an end to suffering and for all diseases to be cured... those deep longings will be fulfilled because the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of God and of the Christ, the Messiah, God-with-us.  

It was this particular crisis that helped me get in touch with the why... so despite all of the negativity surrounding our current situation, I'm grateful for that. 

I also know that all of this will happen in God's time and not my own.  I also know that I have a part to play in the revelation of God's kingdom.  I am part of the story of how God is saving the world.  

Musician and author Andrew Peterson recently wrote this:   
The point is, time is unfolding like a scroll, and we're letters on the parchment, helping to make up the words that tell the story.  Each of us is a character, in both senses of the word.  At times the characters become aware that they're part of a story, and that brings the realization that, first, there is an author, and second, they are not him. 
The world is not as it should be right now, that is for sure and certain.  You and I  are longing for things to be made right, for this to all end and essentially for a new world begin on the other side of it. 

"The time is coming and is now..." Jesus would often say.  The kingdom is breaking through, but it's not fully visible to all.  And that's where you and I come in.  We have a part in this.  It's up to us to tell the story, and point to the in breaking moments of God's kingdom wherever we see them. 

Hallelujah. 
Hallelujah. 
Hallelujah. 

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  

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