The vast majority of Episcopalians probably think I’m crazy, but I’m going to say this anyway: I love the book of Revelation. Yes, I love the bizarre images, the beasts, dragons, and whores. I love the descriptions that don’t make sense (“a rainbow that looks like an emerald”) and the scary ones (“the sky vanished like a scroll rolling itself up”). Is Revelation whacky? Yes. Has it been hijacked by fanatics? Yes. Do I want to reclaim it as part of our Christian heritage? You betcha.
My parents will vouch for me when I say that I have a healthy imagination. Since I was a kid, my mind has been my playground. Trees have faces. Squirrels have conversations. Chairs can look sad. Fish don’t swim, they dance. Sure, it’s a little quirky. But you can’t tell me that Tolkien, Lewis, Hemingway, and Faulkner never had vivid images running through their heads.
It must be my imagination that bids me to return to Revelation. The angels with trumpets, the city of gold that is as clear as glass, a river running through trees running through city streets from the throne of God; these are beautiful, imaginative depictions that escape definition. In comparison, St. Paul’s epistles are drab, boring, and quite confusing (proof).
I urge you – pick up Revelation again. Hear the trumpets, smell the incense, feel the water bright as crystal, see the Lamb on the throne, and taste the fruit that is given for the healing of the nations. Do our imaginative ramblings make perfect sense? Usually not. And neither does Revelation. Remember, you’re not mining Revelation for information, you’re allowing it to be your prayerful playground.