Verses 9 and 10 paint a beautiful image. A multitude of people, no longer separated by borders, language, or ideology. No one is any more important than the other. Everyone there is on the same plane, given equal opportunity and united by one purpose: praise of God and of the Lamb. It’s a vision that stands in stark contrast to the reality of the writer’s world and in contrast to our own.
Like the early Christian community, who is being sorted out and systematically eliminated by the Roman government and the religious authorities, we have separated ourselves. We have chosen neighborhoods, places of work, news sources, and churches based on how much the people there look, talk, think, or believe like us. We have isolated and insulated ourselves to the point that we have very little knowledge of or interaction with people who are different from us.
To what degree does this practice interfere with the call to unity – to a peaceable kingdom as this and others describe – found throughout the scriptures? How might learning more about and interacting with people who are different from you help you to grow closer to Jesus and to deepen your faith? What steps might you take to bring this vision closer to reality?
Today, offer the words of praise found in this reading: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”