Fourth Sunday in Easter (Year C) - Commemoration of Anzac Day.
In the reading from the book of Revelation, John the Divine has this vision of an immense crowd - impossible to count - of people from every nation, tribe, people and language who have all been through the persecution / tribulation and have had their clothes washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. Although it has some strange imagery, I believe this vision has a lot to offer us as we commemorate Anzac Day today.
When John has this vision - almost an interlude between all of the calamities that surround the breaking of the seals on the scroll - we are catapulted into both the present reality of heaven, and the vision of the final fulfillment of all things when heaven crashes into earth in the great wedding banquet of new creation which is the vision of the final two chapters of the bible (Rev 21-22).
Everyone who has ever suffered, and especially those who have given their lives in martyrdom are united with the 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel in this absolutely inclusive vision of paradise as every nation, tribe, religion, people, and way of life gather in worship before the throne (God) and the Lamb (Jesus). All these people - our brothers and sisters - are united no longer by flags and creeds, but because we have allowed the Lamb to wash away our sins in his blood.
Because of this, then there will be no more hunger or thirst, no more pain or tears - but all will be united in the worship of God around the throne. An amazing vision that can lift our efforts to continue to bring heaven to earth and bring into effect this vision of peace and justice reigning here through our worship.
Recorded at St Michael's, 9.30am (8'15")