Speaking

Sometimes it takes repetition, for hearing, for listening, for understanding.  We can hear the same thing time and time again, or meet the same person time and time again, or watch the same program time and time again, and still find new things.  These new aspects, these multiple facets, can surprise us.  Sometimes God speaks to us through these repetitions, especially when dealing with His word.

Yesterday in worship we heard a reading from the Revelation:

And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.  22I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.  23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.  25Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.  26People will bring into it the glory and the honour of the nations.  27But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practises abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.  22:1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city.  On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3Nothing accursed will be found there any more.  But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  5And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Re 21:10,22-22:5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Perhaps you remember the lesson – a vision of future glory, of the establishment of God’s Kingdom in fullness among us.

Well, when it came to the evening (yesterday), I found myself turning to the Anglican Franciscan Celebrating Common Prayer (CCP).  This helpful prayer book, full of daily offices, includes shorter liturgical options for Morning and Evening Prayer each day of the week.  Normally, this is what I dislike about the book – it strikes me that if a person is setting aside time for devotion and prayer, they shouldn’t be taking the ‘light’ option… which makes the existence of such an option redundant.  Yet last night I found myself, due to time constraints, in need of that very option (the potential pride that may have risen from ideas of purity – “I’ve never used those shorter options!” – being undone by God’s providence).

The lesson printed in CCP for Sunday Evening was as follows:

I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.  23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.  25Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.  26People will bring into it the glory and the honour of the nations.  27But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practises abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.  22:1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city.  On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3Nothing accursed will be found there any more.  But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Re 21:22-22:4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

A curious repetition.  On the one Sunday that I chose to use the shorter liturgy presented in this one prayer book, among a myriad of options.  It struck me that the Lord had engineered this.  Any other Sunday, the parallel wouldn’t have occurred.  Yet God brought this about.

Right before bed, I turned again in CCP to the regular (not short!) liturgies for the daily prayer offices.  I found Sunday Night, and began to pray – only to be confronted by this Scripture passage:

[His servants] will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  5And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Re 22:4-5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Had the Sunday morning lection occurred any other week, this repetition may not have been so obvious (without the added repeat of the Evening Prayer lesson).  Which leads me to the one verse that occurred all three times.  Revelation 22:4.  The Lord’s servants will see His face, and His Name will be on their foreheads.  That’s the Lord’s word to me, yesterday – which is being mulled over today.

What have the Lord’s words to you been, recently?

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