Maybe what Jesus is trying to teach Peter by replying with such an outlandishly large number is that mercy takes repetition in order to gather strength. In other words, forgiveness takes practice. Maybe it’s something we never “get right,” so we have to keep at it.
While they were in captivity in a foreign land, this is the story the Jewish people told about their history. Passover was foundational to their identity. This is how they were to remember the fundamental nature of who they were—God’s own people, a freed people. The Passover story prompts us to think about the various stories we tell.
There are people who, like John of Patmos, have such bold visions of hope in the midst of despairing circumstances. They catch a glimpse of the New Jerusalem and they share it with the rest of us, and it changes us forever. They see a hint of what the world will look like at the culmination of history, the redemption and renewal of all things.
These Four Horsemen and the destruction they unleash aren’t signs of the things to come to come as much as signs of what has always been and what currently is… The saints robed in white are the faithful who have endured the Four Horsemen and emerged victorious. They didn’t participate in the destruction, but they endured it.
The victory of the Lamb is a grand, sweeping, cosmic one, as John of Patmos illustrates, but it manifests in a million small moments when the Lamb’s people “from every tribe language, people, and nation” witness to that victory by choosing peace. That’s a posture that is needed now more than ever…
It is indeed time for the American church, namely the white members within it, to wake up to the reality of our country as it is today, as it has been, the reality of all those who suffer under the weight of oppression and violence. We who wash our hands of responsibility for what is happening in our country are asleep to the truth.
Maybe these metaphors about armor and evil are about protection, not aggression; about defense, not offense. These symbols of war and violence are inverted to symbols of peace and nonviolence… whatever the “battle” is—whether it’s personal, political, or somewhere in between—the defensive, protective, peaceful “armor” is the same.
What are the broken places you notice? What broken places have been restored in your own life? Knowing we are a people restored can only fuel the drive to become a restorative people.
On my walk home I asked myself, is this what Jesus meant by “Go therefore and make disciples?” Is this what commissioned ministry truly is, to be sent out into the world to serve Gods purposes by meeting people right where they are?mI started wondering how could I, a recovering drug addict who has done things that I have a hard time forgiving myself for, could be commissioned to share life with others in the name of our loving savior, Jesus Christ.
You. Are. Loved. You are treasured by the One who peppers the sky with stars. This Parent doesn’t love us abstractly, but specifically; individually, but also as part of a wider human family. And here’s the thing: God doesn’t have to, but God chose to, a long time ago.