Adult Education Series: The Power of the Lamb
In the coming weeks, we will make our way through Revelation with some help from Ward Ewing’s book ‘The Power of the Lamb: Revelation’s Theology of Liberation for You.’ This book is not a commentary on the text but an attempt to apply the lessons and meaning of Revelation for us today. Pairing Revelation and ‘The Power of the Lamb’ together should give a chance to discuss Scripture and an opportunity for those who want to dig deeper as well.
Oct 2nd: We are beginning our journey into and through the book of Revelation this week. For our initial meeting, we will share some of our initial impressions about Revelation and Fr. Will will introduce the book to us. We will review what apocalyptic literature in general is like, where this book fits into that genre, and why some folks avoid this book.
Oct. 9th: Our journey into the book of Revelation begins this week. We will start by reading the first chapter of Revelation. The first chapter sets the scene for the visions that John relates to us in the chapters to come as well as the messages to the various churches. The initial interactions between Jesus and John in this first chapter will frame the rest of the book and so it is important that we pay attention to who is speaking and how they are describing their words. We will hear lots of titles for Jesus in these readings so please come prepared to say which titles you found the strangest and most appealing.
Oct. 16th: Our reading from Revelation this week will be chapters 2 and 3. These chapters contain the ‘letters’ to the various churches addressed by Revelation. The churches are given compact instructions about how they can continue in the faith, as well as some admonitions about potential problems. One recurrent motif is the need to endure in faithfulness in order to conquer and to take their place alongside Christ in his victory. What sort of victory do you think the author of Revelation has in mind? For those reading Ward Ewing’s book, The Power of the Lamb, there are some clear connections with the first two chapters. Ewing begins making some connections between the forces named in Revelation and the oppressive forces we encounter in our own lives.
Oct. 23rd: We are contenting to focus on Revelation 2-3 this week. In our discussion last week we introduced some key ideas and began to work through the various letters to the churches. We pretty easily found some parallels to our own spiritual lives and churches today. This week, we will go through the rest of the letters to the churches to see what problems and difficulties they were struggling with in their own time. As you review Revelation 2-3 please take some time to think if any of the letters resonate with a specific time in your own life. We will also pick up a discussion about power from Ward Ewing’s book that will prepare us for the chapters to come.
Oct. 30th: This week we move into the next section of the book of Revelation. We will look at chapters 4-5 which are the prelude to the long sequence of events that is to follow. Our focus will be on the identity of the lamb who will act as a protagonist in the chapters ahead. We will do our best to untangle and interpret the wealth of images, numbers, and symbols that come up in these two chapters. As you read, do your best to think through what these symbols might mean in general and with what we know about the setting of the book that we have discussed so far.
Nov. 6th: We are reading Revelation chapters 6-8 this week. In these chapters, we see a series of apocalyptic visions of events set in motion by the Lamb. The visions chart the appearance of various horses, riders, and angels who come before the Lamb. The various creatures unfold the relationship between the people of God and the world around them. Our focus will not be on trying to reduce any of these symbols to a specific historical precedent, but, instead, seeing in them the way God works in the world and the part we have to play in it. This section can be taken as a picture of the problems created by human life together and then God’s response to them in the work of the Lamb. What do we think this highly stylized picture may be able to tell us about our own life together?
Nov. 13th: Our time in Adult Education this week will focus on chapters 9 & 10 of the book of Revelation. These chapters continue with the imagery of angels sounding trumpets as increasingly strange creatures arrive to wreak havoc. As with this past week, we will see what these images have to offer as a picture of how change comes about in churches and the world rather than take them up as predictions of specific events. What does it look and feel like to be in the middle of a difficult or painful transition? What clarity about where we are do we gain when we are in a crisis? These questions will set us up for the next round of prophecies that begin in chapter 11.
Nov. 20th: We are reading Revelation chapters 11-12 this week. These chapters give us a picture of the ‘conflict’ that has been building in Revelation, as well as one account of its resolution. We will be able to talk more about just what sort of power the Lamb uses in Revelation. Bishop Cole will join us for this meeting.
Nov. 27th: We will be reading chapters 13-14 of the book of Revelation this week. These chapters once again depict a battle between the beasts and the Lamb. The beasts will once again give us a picture of human conflict and oppression while the Lamb will point us to a different want forwards in endurance. Again and again in these chapters, we are called to the endurance of the saints by keeping the commandments and holding fast to the faith of Jesus. Our discussion will focus on the power of worship, violent imagery, and the judgment of God.
Dec. 4th: Our reading for this week is Revelation chapters 15-17. In these chapters, the tide begins to turn in the heavenly battle that we have had described to us up unto this point. The wrath and destruction are coming to an end as we see what it means for God to be victorious in this struggle. The power of worship will again take center stage as the angels go out from the temple to bring to an end the reign of the beast. At the end of these chapters, we see the conflict in terms of the Roman Empire as the power that reigns over the kings of the earth even as it unwittingly serves the ends of God.
Dec. 11th: For our penultimate session on the book of Revelation we will look at chapters 18-20. In these chapters we see the description of God’s overcoming of the powers arrayed against him and the destruction of Babylon/Rome. Our focus will be on the description of how Babylon has ensnared the world so that it must be destroyed in order to deliver God’s people and how God topples the city. We will see that God is judging, and just what this means, in order to set things right before creating a group of people who are able to judge as well. This final upheaval will prepare us for next week when we will see what the community that has gone through the process of purification and empowerment looks like.
Dec. 18th: Our journey with the book of Revelation is coming to an end. We will be discussing chapters 21-22 this week. These final chapters on Revelation give us a description of the new Jerusalem that is established against the powers of Babylon and the community of saints that inhabit it. We will also see that the final verses of Revelation do not give us an easy ending but instead send us out into the world and back to the beginning of the book. We will be given one more picture of what it means to be waiting and witnessing to the faith of Jesus Christ.
Sunday mornings at 9:15, we meet in Fox Hall, or you can access our meeting online by any of the following methods:
2. Go to Zoom.us, click “Join Meeting” & enter Meeting ID: 912 9783 7526
3. On your cell, call (312) 626-6799 and enter Meeting ID 912 9783 7526#