Daily Devotional is a ministry of the Living Church.
View this email in your browser

Daily Devotional • December 29

James Cornwell
All Nations
A Reading from Revelation 1:1-8

1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place, and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.

3 Blessed is the one who reads the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and made us a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7 Look! He is coming with the clouds;
    every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him,
    and all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.

So it is to be. Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

St. John opens Revelation with a greeting to the seven churches in Asia, and during the course of the greeting, he prophesies concerning the Second Coming of Christ: “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.” Note that last phrase: every tribe will wail at his coming — not just the tribes that were unfriendly to his memory or his Church, every tribe will wail.

Tribes are the foundation for human sociality. On tribes are built communities, polities, and nations. They are the means by which we human beings can achieve things beyond what we can achieve as individuals. They are, then, at least in some sense, good; so why do they mourn our Lord’s return?

The coming of Christ heralds the end — both the “conclusion” and “fulfillment” — of the tribe, of the earthly community, and of nations as we have known them. Their provisional nature is revealed for what it is, and they must now stand aside. Christ’s coming irrevocably undoes their earthly power, since all peoples will be united under a new King. Like marriage, tribes are no longer necessary on the other side of the eschaton.

Today we honor the memory of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury who refused to place earthly kingship above God’s kingship, and was martyred as a result. Becket realized the other important truth of today’s passage: while the rest of the sentence is in the future tense, the statement of Christ’s descent is in the present tense. Christ is coming, the judgment on the tribes and nations is now. The days of all earthly authorities and powers are numbered today.

On this fifth day of Christmas, remember that the birth of the Christ child sets in motion his return. Love has come down at Christmas, and all tribes will wail — and be remade — on account of him.

James Cornwell lives and works in Wheaton, Illinois, with his wife Sarah and their seven children.

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Florida
The Diocese of Olo – The Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan
Subscribe to Daily Devotionals

Forward to a Friend

You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Our mailing address is:
The Living Church
P.O. Box 510705
Milwaukee, WI 53203

Add us to your address book

Copyright © 2022 The Living Church, All rights reserved.