This year I began my second foray into ministry as a lead pastor at a campus ministry, which included a new sermon series. Unfortunately, I only got one sermon in–and it was a pretty solid series intro if I do say so–before it was all taken away. Months of planning seemed wasted. All my efforts to convince my students that studying Revelation could actually be an enjoyable, intellectual and spiritually-stimulating experience were pointless.
Until a student asked me to continue the study.
And then another. And another.
And then both of my parents.
Soon, we had a small group sitting in my living room asking to simply pray, receive Eucharist, and talk about this frustrating, mystifying, deeply troublesome book. You see, I had made a promise: “Revelation can bring new insights into your understanding of Christ and your place in His economy,” I said. “It can open your eyes to those blind spots, implicit biases, and cultural imaginaries that your life has thus far successfully hidden from you.”
Well, I promised. Now it’s time to deliver.
What follows will be an approximation of those major themes we would have discussed on Sunday mornings. Some of the thoughts are more fully developed (such as the first sermon, which I will give in full over the course of several posts), and others will much simpler: a few paragraphs musing on one or two images, and a couple probing questions to spur conversation. Sometimes, we’ll zero in on the text and discuss the implications of specific words, phrases, allusions, etc. Other times, we’ll paint with a very broad brush to try and catch the larger arc of this book and its place in the Christian Scriptures.
I’m terrified to jump into this study as it will almost certainly prove to be more taxing than I think it will at the outset (which is to say, it will be a typical sermon for me), but I’m also incredibly excited. I’m thrilled to show a new angle of a book so many of us either ignore or fear (or perhaps love a little too much). I’m also incredibly humbled by the enthusiasm of those who requested we continue the study–I hope this serves as a suitable substitute.
Finally, I want to close with a list (for those who care) of the various resources to which I’ll be consistently referring. This list is in no way comprehensive, as you’ll see many other works mentioned in this study, but it may provide some insight into my preparation, as well as my theological and interpretive presuppositions.
Thank you again to all who participate in this study.