Accusations fly back and forth among us, and the current round in the nation’s capital are but among the noisiest examples. Smaller, more personal, indictments find their way into our daily lives. Some of them come from outside of us: a loved one or coworker calls us out on some negligence. Some of the most cruel and critical darts arise from within us: the true sins that burden our conscience, the failures only known to us, the decades-long incriminations are harbored so long that they come to be natural part of who we are.
Last Sunday, September 29, was marked on the calendars of much of the Church as the Festival of St. Michael and All Angels. One of the readings appointed for the celebration was from that most notorious of books in the Bible, the Revelation to St. John. Revelation is filled with the kind of imagery that might be more at home in a summer blockbuster movie than in church. Talk of angels and dragons, it’s easy to dismiss it all as too fantastic to be in any way personally relevant. But there, in last Sunday’s reading was this description of events: “…the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.” What follows, seems to be an ancient hymn of praise; “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser…has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. [Revelation 12:7-11 selected verses]
There is no place for accusation in the courts of heaven. The one whose business it was to bring accusation against us before God has been defeated. The hymn goes on to identify the power behind this defeat as “the blood of the Lamb (who is Jesus).” We may find our days filled with accusation or the threat of accusation, but a larger reality is present around us. In the presence of God, accusations have no place.
Now, one might move from this realization to a place where our present life is one of pushing through until some better future, but I would suggest that knowing one’s destiny to be a reality free of accusation might also have impact on our day-to-day life. Time management experts encourage us to always begin with the end in mind. How might the knowledge that you are living toward a reality that ends all accusation influence the start of your day?
Oct. 1, 2013
Rev. James A. Wetzstein and Rev. Charlene M. Rachuy Cox serve as university pastors at Valpo and take turns writing weekly reflections.