Friday, November 02, 2007

Last Judgment

Friday, November 2, 2007 -- Week of Proper 25
(All Faithful Departed -- All Souls Day)

"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location --

Audio Podcasts of today's "Morning Reflection" and those from the past week are available from (go to St. Paul's Home Page and click "Morning Reflection podcast")

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p 990)
Psalms 40, 54 (morning) 51 (evening)
Nehemiah 2:1-20
Revelation 6:12 - 7:4
Matthew 13:24-30

Both Matthew and Revelation deal with some the problems of the delay of God's justice and judgment. The parable in Matthew offers the image of a field in which wheat and weeds have been sown. It is hard to tell the different plants apart before they are grown enough that their roots are already intertwined. If a farmer were to try to weed the field, some of the wheat would be damaged. "Let them both grow together until the harvest," is the solution. Matthew's parable imagines a final judgment when good and evil can be separated. For now, good and evil coexist.

The sixth seal of John's Revelation pictures all of the elements of the final judgment: earth, moon, sun, stars, sky, mountains and islands are all affected dramatically. Fear is universal. But the actual events are postponed. The four angels who had been given power to damage earth and sea are halted until the servants of God have been marked with a seal upon their foreheads. The forehead is a symbol of human will and human worship. The symbolic number of the sealed is one hundred forty-four thousand -- all God's people. The number 12 stands for God's people; the number 10 represents totality. Tomorrow we will read verse nine which expands this to "a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages..."

The last judgment has been a traditional answer to the problem of injustice. Will God act to reward good and punish evil, to rescue the oppressed and administer justice? Yes, is the religious answer. But we see injustice abound throughout the world and God has not acted. God is delaying the final judgment so that all possible good may be expressed. But in the end, God will judge.

Hope for a final judgment can offer perseverance and courage in times of trial or injustice. It is a motivation for right action in the here and now for that action will be confirmed ultimately.


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The Rev. Lowell Grisham
Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, AR

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life:
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.


At 11:58 AM, Blogger The Underground Pewster said...

Revelations 1-6 down, 7-22 to go!


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