Are you an empty nester like me? How did it go for you, the launching of your little chicks?
I had the painful privilege of experiencing it four times. Each was different, but each was the same in that I felt that time had slipped uncontrollably through my fingers. I needed more. I needed to have one more conversation about life, and then another one after that. I felt an urgent need to impart parting words of wisdom, as if that would make any difference. I dreaded the fact that they would no longer be under my roof, and therefore my influence. But as a wise woman told me long ago as I rocked my firstborn: the only time we have pure ownership of our babies is when they’re inside our bodies. After that, it’s a lifelong progression of good byes. Indeed, my four kids are nearly scattered to the four corners of my continent.
The book of Revelation feels like a good bye letter to me. God is writing to seven churches, the actual ones He birthed through the apostles. The last surviving apostle, John, the author of Revelation, isn’t going to live forever. His passing will leave the churches without their own “greatest generation” to keep them grounded in this new faith. So the letters are filled with advice, and pleas, and encouragement, and hope. And in this case, they do make a difference.
This passage we have come to in the Bible Sampler quilt project is right smack dab in the middle of the action. Chapter 6 had us reading about the six seals opened, with all the mayhem that came with. But now we get a breather, because Jesus has ascended from the rising of the sun. He says “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”
See? We’re going to be okay. We’ve been sealed with the cross of Christ, on our foreheads and in our hearts.
So, in the meantime, we believers are to hang in there, share the good news, and love one another. Because in the end, everything’s going to be alright.