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 three-year lectionary.
In recent weeks our world has heard increasing reports of conflicts, often classified as rooted in ethnic tensions. At times this has been blamed on one religious group of another, but the conflcit is significantly phrased as ethnic, not normally religious. Our Epistle, from Revelation 7, points out the fact that there is no place whatsoever for ethnic or racial tension in God’s kingdom. Here we see Christians, countless in number, from all different people groups, cultures, and languages. They are all before God’s throne singing his praises, no matter what their background.
Who are these people? In verse 14 they are people who have been purified by Christ, the Lamb of God. They have died, or they would not be in the heavenly place. They have come through “tribulation,” severe hardship, possibly acocunting for their death. All are partakers of the heavenly reward in Christ.
What do we make of this situation? In brief, two things. First, there is no place in Christianity for ethnic discrimination. People from every group are called to the presence of God. Second, there is a place for an exclusive claim. All in the presence of God have arrived there through the work of Christ. The Bible knows no other way. Christians confess that salvation is only through Christ. Yet we urge people to that faith fervently and gently. In loving our world, we do no violence against people because of who they are. We simply call people to trust Jesus and become one with all the saints.
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