Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Alpha and the Omega

My husband has spent the last year listening to the Bible read aloud on CD. He mostly listens while he's driving. He's near the end. So last night, on our way to church for the Feast of St John, Apostle and Evangelist, he asked if we could listen to Revelation for his first time through that CD. That made a very interesting juxtaposition of readings. The first reading at church was from Revelation 1. The epistle was 1 John 1, and the Gospel was John 21. Oodles of John last night!

After spending the last year going through Leviticus on Thursday mornings, it surprised me how much of Leviticus (the priestly garments, the tabernacle furnishings and sacrifices) showed up in Revelation that I'd never noticed before.

It's also interesting to think of what it was that John was seeing and then trying to describe with words that just weren't adequate for the task. If one cannot describe the indescribable, just what does the indescribable look like??

Listening to the whole book read in one big swoop, I also noticed how often Jesus refers to Himself as the "Alpha and Omega." I had always thought of that simply as the "first and the last," the "beginning and the end." Maybe it was because of last night's sermon, and the emphasis on the Word, the testimony, the witness, the preaching... but whatever it was, it made me realize that Jesus' being the Alpha and the Omega has to do not just with starts and finishes, but also with the alphabet. If He is "A to Z," that means all words, all sentences, all writing, all speech, all words, proceed from Him. (Of course, that doesn't contradict the reality that we can pervert words and use them against His will. But without Him, there could be no words.)

"This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true."

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