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Here Comes The Bride

May 25, 2019 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Verse: Revelation 21:9

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Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
May 26, 2019
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Easter 6
Here Comes The Bride

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke to me saying, "Come! I will show you the Bride that the Lamb has married. Revelation 21:9

All the visions of the Book of Revelation take place outside of time, and so we should not try to squeeze them into the thimble of current events. They fit no better there than the ocean in a Dixie Cup.

Without doubt all that St. John was given to see, and commanded to write, will take place! But the Book of Revelation is not concerned with middle east politics, or the world monetary system.

The things that we hear in this dear book take place not only outside of time, but outside our vision, and we would never know a thing about them except that God discloses them to us in this book, rightly named, Revelation!

So let us hear the prophecies of this book in the light intended, and we will be filled with Good Hope because it reveals end game to us. Because it proclaims us to be the winners with Christ in the age old struggle of Good v. Evil. Because it shows the church to be the Radiant Bride who is unveiled in today’s Epistle. You are that Bride.

But what is that intended light? How is Revelation to be heard?

We can think of it like this. As the four gospels reveal the INCARNATE Christ, the Book of Revelation of reveals the EXALTED Christ. It is that simple.

The four gospels (Matthew Mark Luke & John) show us all that Jesus said and did to redeem the world from sin. And whoever has ears to hear it will rest as peacefully as a newborn babe feeding at its mother’s breast: “through all the changing scenes of life.”

But whereas the gospels reveal the INCARNATE Christ to us Revelation shows the EXALTED Christ and explains in graphic detail just what the Lord accomplished by his cross and resurrection.

Whereas the gospels show us the crown of thorns, the Book of Revelation shows us the crown of glory – just as the church proclaims in her post-Easter Gradual:

"Christ is risen from the dead. God the Father has crowned him with glory and honor.
He has given him dominion over the works of his hands;he has put all things under his feet."

And so whoever will hear this Book and hold it dear will be immeasurably blessed, and have not a worry in the world. Not a worry because Jesus the Perfect Bridegroom will tenderly care for his beloved Bride in time and eternity.

Today’s epistle from Revelation is the unveiling of the Bride! 

It portrays that glorious moment that people, even in this late day of paganism, still anticipate, still desire to glimpse, even if only for a passing moment. The picture of Purity! Of radiance! The vision of our lost innocence!

It is a desire buried deep inside humanity’s collective psyche. O so very, very, very deep because on the surface there is nary a sign of it. On the surface we deny it, decry it, deride it and live like Revelation Beasts.

We trash the magnificence of marriage, the love that exists between one man and one woman who pledge love and faithfulness to one another for as long as they both shall live.

Such vows find their inspiration in the faithfulness of Jesus the Holy Bridegroom, and his marriage to the baptismally-washed Bride who pledge their undying love and faithfulness to one another.

Yet we feel ever so progressive, don’t we, as we natter on about gender identity, and celebrate the latest irrational conclusions of sexual politics?

And just to make sure that we can keep this (lead) balloon in the air we compose cultural Collects and pray them with “a great and mighty voice” on social media; hoping against hope that the lies we tell one another might somehow come true! If only we tell them loud enough, and long enough, and disallow all competing expression of truth – then we can stop fearing the judgment that the Book of Revelation threatens every unclean opinion, expression and deed!

Oy!

What “a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

Ourselves!

“Wake up O sleeper!

Arise from the dead!

And Christ will give you light!” (Eph. 5:14)

Revelation is the alarm clock that wakes us from the sleep of spiritual death, and brings us back to life! It portrays the judgment put into motion by our Lord’s death and resurrection. Or in the words of famous Easter verse (paschal troparion):

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing life!

Jesus trampled death! But not from a distance. No! He went there in person. He entered death’s house, walked right through the door and turned it upside down, inside out, and left not a single stone standing upon another!

Then on the third day he was made alive again by the glory of the Father, and now bestows life on: those who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit! (Rom. 8:4)

What we see in the four gospels is what was visible to every eye: Jesus “crucified, dead and buried” on Friday; and raised from the dead on the third day.

But what we see in the Saint John’s Revelation is what the defeat of the enemy actually looks from heaven’s viewpoint: we get a glimpse of it today.

The angel that announces: “Here Comes The Bride” is the same angel (one of seven) that poured out the seven final plagues upon the Dragon who is Satan, the Beast who is the antichrist, and upon every lie, every unclean thing, and upon all who would defile the Lamb’s Resplendent Bride. 

Every Sunday when the Bride assembles to participate in Holy Communion with her Groom two things happen: judgment and salvation.

At each Eucharist the pent-up wrath of God is unleashed against all evil to crush it, pin it down, put it down, expose its darkness and send it to the Lake of Fire: where those who practice these things will languish in unending misery.

And so be careful O fetching Bride! never to give a wedding dance to the devil because he will Step On Your Toes! He is not the Groom, or the Father of the Groom, but a Raging Rapist and Serial Killer.

But Jesus is our Groom! He makes us beautiful by his “blood and righteousness.” He decks us with gold as clear as crystal and with colored jewels of dazzling hue and rarest splendor. He restores our innocence! He brings us to his Father’s house, who also loves us because we love his Son and believe that he came from God! (Jn. 16:27)

And so prepare to march down the aisle, O Bride. To go to the altar today where you will meet your King and kiss him with your lips.

Today is your day!

Angels announce you!

Archangels attend you!

Your Lord awaits, nay thirsts for you!

And so come, O Bride! Take the hand of Christ, and live happily ever after.

Amen.