(This is the final post of our June series on the mystifying book of Revelation.)
Revelation is rich in so much theology: theologies of wrath and judgment and justice and repentance and hope and hospitality and reconciliation and restoration and inclusiveness and healing and communion.
There’s that wonderful vision of communion with Jesus in Revelation 21, which speaks of the the mystical marriage between the “bride” and the Lamb.
Recall that Jesus had identified himself with the figure of the bridegroom in Matthew, Mark and Luke too, the so-called Synoptic Gospels.
John’s gospel is always a tad different.
Understand that it was a Jewish custom for the bridegroom’s friend to wait with and watch over the bride until the groom came. So John in his gospel speaks directly of the bride when he tells us:
“He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase but I must decrease (John 3:29-30)”.
A wedding is a joyous affair, of course, in which intimate love and deep friendships are celebrated. John of Patmos reminds us in Revelation that Jesus loves the faithful with all the deep intimacy with which a bride and groom love each other.
This is how Jesus embraces us, as if he were in communion with us at a great wedding and feast. In the festive atmosphere of communion and hospitality that is a wedding, we shower the newlyweds with gifts for their new life together.
We celebrate with laughter and dancing and making joyful noise with family and the best of our friends to the point of tears.
Yet when the ultimate wedding communion comes and the groom appears in the completeness of glory, even tears, whether of suffering or joy, will be wiped away.
Forget the bogus “Rapture: It’s about the coming “Ecstasy.”
Until that time comes we wait and watch over one another and become less so that Jesus can become more to others.
Today’s final takeaway:
The promise of ecstatic communion with God and others makes Revelation an extension of the Good News of Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior who showers us with the water of life as a gift.
The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.”
“And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.”
— Revelation 22: 17