Alyssa Sellers

From Creepy to Etsy: Some Thoughts on Revelation

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b499c-etsynamehangerThe book of Revelation use to seriously freak me out.

A. The imagery can be sorta creepy.
B. I really don’t understand what is happening in parts of it. And I’m not so sure I want to.

However, there are some parts I can really get behind. Like the section where Jesus introduces himself to each church. It is unique and personal to each community as if he is saying, “This is how YOU know me, this is your UNIQUE relationship with me.” And he does know them; he calls them out on the specifics of what each is doing right and on what each is doing wrong.

I imagine each church lined up in a row and as Jesus walks down the row, he takes each one by the shoulders and speaks as both friend and authority all in one. “Hey, Ephesus, you know me. You know that I’m the One who takes care of all things, who holds you in my hands. You know how I walk and move among you and our other friends. You. Know. Me. And I know you. So, I want to tell you something, you are doing good stuff. Yeah, I really like it. But…don’t forget me. I love you. Do you still love me? You’re doing a lot of stuff. Make sure that this stuff you do, is done out of love for me. Be with me first; LOVE me first and above everything else.”*

He continues this stroll and speaks to each church about both their good and their bad choices

And to the last he says, “Philly, you are newer here, but I don’t love you any less. We are just beginning. Remember that I hold all the possibilities. I know it can be overwhelming, but I will take care of it. I will take care of you. I can open and shut doors as needed to guide you into the right ones. I know you are weak, but you still stood strong. I’m proud of you. Now stay strong. I know you are being bullied, but don’t you worry. They will receive their comeuppance and then everyone will know how much I love you.”*

Jesus was telling each church to love God, themselves and their neighbors in ways that were unique and best suited for them in their particular circumstances. I think this is true for us as individuals, too. Just as Jesus acknowledges and encourages each church’s different strengths, Jesus acknowledges and encourages each of our different strengths. That is, when we take time to listen to him and let him do so.

Just as Jesus, out of love and desire for the good and best, calls the churches out on their individual poor choices, Jesus calls out our individual poor choices, but here again, we have to listen.

Jesus understands/ knows/gets each of us waaaaay better than we understand/know/get ourselves and he wants to share this knowledge with each of us to help each of us in unique and personalized ways. Jesus is not offering mass-produced assembly line solutions. He’s creating hand-made quality goods. Turns out, Jesus is less big-box, more Etsy.  So that’s cool and not creepy at all.

*Loose paraphrases of Revelation 2:1-7 and 3:7-13 mostly based on The Message and The Voice translations with dashes of NIV.


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