Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Our first reading for the commemoration of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, is from Revelation chapter 1. We can almost picture the elderly, very dignified and well respected apostle sitting at his writing desk penning a letter to the churches. There's mention of seven churches and seven spirits - seven being a signifier of completion. The text even says that this content was given to John by an angelic messenger.
We might like to be in John's position. Then again, we recognize that he was in exile in Patmos at the time of composition. He was removed from home, church, and any family he had in Ephesus so as to be transported forcibly to a prison island. Different historians assess the conditions differently. Regardless, you don't end up as a prisoner on Patmos willingly, and it is not a tropicl island vacation.
The picture we can develop of the apostle, though, is a picture of someone who is committed to Christ and His kingdom, and who wants to continue bringing God's word in clarity to others. Even in a time of trial and difficulty, the Lord has spoken and brought His grace to our world.
John identifies himself as someone who has been loved, freed from sin, and brought into a kingdom of God, to whom all glory and dominion belong. Through this letter we who read it are identified exactly the same way. We may have differences, but all are being gathered together in one in Christ.
Whether we are in Patmos or Pittsburgh, whether we are in prison or free, whether we are old or young, we can know that God in Christ has loved us and appointed us to live and work in His kingdom for the good of the world. We are, then, like John.
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