Revelation 22:12-16 (NRSV)
“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
By Chuck Griffin
If you were in church last Sunday, you probably picked up on the fact that we are now in the season of Advent, which begins a new church year. With our minds on Christmas, Advent can seem like an odd church season.
For one thing, we begin the church year like people who read the last few pages of a novel before starting the first chapter. Advent is about the end of a great story, one we will spend the rest of the church year hearing and exploring through its cycle of readings.
The ending is pretty straightforward: Jesus Christ will return. Justice will become a visible reality, and the Messiah who died for all will reward those who stand with him and reject those who rejected him.
Today’s text from Revelation references “everyone who loves and practices falsehood,” saying they will be excluded from God’s presence, where the gift of eternal life awaits. Another translation, the New Living Translation, describes these people as those “who love to live a lie.”
Christians do occasionally stray from living as true disciples. We forget what Jesus Christ did to restore us as children of God. We live as if there is no truth to the story.
Usually, we snap back to reality as defined by God, the maker of all that is real. We resume that effort to live as he would have us live. We conform our lives to God’s will out of gratitude for the great gift we have been given.
Like Lent, the church season preceding Easter, Advent is a good time to ask ourselves what lies we might be living and how we can return to the truth. Recognizing our errors and turning from them amount to what we call repentance; growing in truth and love then becomes a powerful work God’s Spirit can perform in us.
Eventually, we may be so blessed that we can show the truth to those who have never known anything but life as a lie.
Lord, reveal where we lie to ourselves, and show us how the truth really does set us and others free. Amen.