Lectionary Reading: Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20; Acts 7:55-60; John 17:20-26
So often when we look at this world where so much ill is committed on a daily basis, we question ourselves, ‘When is the Lord coming? Where is God that so much ill can continue to be practiced?’ Sometimes those doing good may get frustrated, and ask themselves if there is any reason to keep to moral values when it looks like all the world is surrendering itself to evil.
If one looks at the injustices, the high level of corruption in many countries, the egocentrism, the marginalization, the oppression, the sexual immorality, the terrorist actions, etc. which characterize our societies worldwide, it is easy to conclude that our world is doomed. I have personally witnessed some Christians in my country suggest that it’s better to dance to the music the evil doers play in order not to be deprived of the immediate material benefits many of them get. What a defeatist point of view!
When we look at Stephen’s martyrdom it seems to be the small visible part of the iceberg pointing to the cruelty and insensitiveness that dwell in many people’s hearts across the world today, people who do terrible evil to others merely because they think differently from them.
The passage from Revelation is very comforting. Besides repeating and affirming the promise that our Lord Jesus Christ is coming, it assures us that God will bring justice. It is clearly stated that everyone will be rewarded according to his/her deeds. Those who keep their robes washed, who keep in close relationship with the Saviour, will receive the best reward, the right to eat the fruit of the tree life. Those who do evil, like some mentioned in verse 15, will not have life, but will be separated from the community of the holy city.
One of the things those who do good should stay attached to, is unity. In John 17:20-26 Jesus is praying for the unity of all the Christian family across the world. God in His triune nature is the best model of such desired unity. God is three in one. So too should be all the Christians as they wait for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, as they journey through a word where evil seems dominant, as they keep on doing good to show a different reality.
Question for reflection: Am I part of those who keep a close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? If yes, to which extent is this relationship visible in my attitude toward people living with HIV and AIDS?
Written by: Rev. Eduardo Vundo Sassa, Pastor of Igreja Evangélica de Angola (Evangelical Church of Angola) and CABSA Representative in Angola