Keep Your Eyes Open (July 14)

Revelation 2:12-29

Comment


William Turner reflects on the church at Thyatira:

“Once, when Koinonia Farms was having legal problems, founder Clarence Jordan asked his brother, a lawyer, for help. In the highly charged racial climate of South Georgia, the racially integrated nature of Koinonia’s operation was widely known and dangerously controversial. Jordan’s brother had political aspirations and, in time, became a state senator and chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. So when asked to help Koinonia, he declined. Clarence then reminded him that when the two boys had joined the church, the preacher asked both the same question: ‘Do you accept Jesus as Savior and Lord?’ ‘I answered “Yes.” What did you say?’ Clarence asked, and his brother responded, ‘Clarence, I follow Jesus up to a point.’ ‘Could that be the cross?’ Clarence wondered. His brother answered, ‘That’s right. I follow him to the cross, but not on the cross. I’m not going to get myself crucified.’ I suspect that he had kindred spirits in the church at Thyatira—and more recently, in many other congregations.”

(Making Sense of the Revelation: A Clear Message of Hope, Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2000, pp. 45).

Reading the Scripture
Begin and/or end the scripture reading with these words from Revelation: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it” (Revelation 1:3).

Here are some ways you might read the scripture or tell the story:

•    Audio:
o    The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible (“presented by a stellar ensemble of today’s top-name actors, musicians, clergy, directors, and award-winning producers.” Available from Keith).
o    Faith Comes by Hearing: You’ve Got the Time (Dramatized New Testament we used a few years ago during Lent. Available in the library and the church office.)

Teaching Suggestions

•    Irish Prayers and Blessings: The first ever Danville Irish Festival is July 11-14, 2013. As a part of the festival downtown churches are being encouraged to include Irish elements (prayers, blessings, music, etc.) in worship on Sunday, July 14. Consider beginning your Bible study with an Irish prayer and ending with an Irish blessing.
o    Opening Prayer:
“You are the peace of all things calm
You are the place to hide from harm
You are the light that shines in dark
You are the heart’s eternal spark
You are the door that’s open wide
You are the guest who waits inside
You are the stranger at the door
You are the calling of the poor
Your are my [our] Lord and with me [us] still
You are my [our] Love, keep me [us] from ill
You are the light, the truth, the way
You are my [our] Saviour this very day”
(celtic oral tradition – 1st millennium)
www.faithandworship.com/Celtic_Blessings_and_Prayers.htm

o    Closing Blessings:
“God to enfold me [us],
God to surround me [us],
God in my [our] speaking,
God in my [our] thinking.

God in my [our] sleeping,
God in my [our] waking,
God in my [our] watching,
God in my [our] hoping.

God in my [our] life,
God in my [our] lips,
God in my [our] soul,
God in my [our] heart.

God in my [our] sufficing,
God in my [our] slumber,
God in mine [our] ever-living soul[s],
God in mine [our] eternity.”
(Ancient celtic oral traditions – carmina gadelica)

or

“May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
(traditional gaelic blessing)
www.faithandworship.com/Celtic_Blessings_and_Prayers.htm

For more options, follow the link to the website listed above or see Tommy for my book of modern day Celtic style blessings, Celtic Blessings: Prayers for Everyday Life, by Ray Simpson.

•    Coded (Apocalyptic) Language - See Blevins’ definitions in the introduction of these Supplements:
o    White (2:17)
o    Bronze (2:18)

•    The Revelation is meant to be visualized. Show a picture representation of this passage. See the web site for depictions of this scene in Revelation 2-3.

•    Local features of the letters: Making Sense of the Book of Revelation by Laurie Guy (pp. 54-56) has a helpful chart listing each of the seven churches and noting how Revelation utilizes “features of the cities they inhabit.” This book is available in my office. Tommy can help you locate it if I’m not available.

•    Maps and pictures in the library: Pergamum and Thyatira
o    The Seven Churches of Revelation: Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1996) p. 451-452.
o    Seven Churches: Oxford Bible Atlas (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 158-159, E3.
o    Bible Map Guide (Common English Bible, 2011), Maps 15.
o    Seven Churches of Revelation: The Essential Bible Guide: Bible Background with Maps, Charts, and Lists, Menahse Har-El, Paul Wright, and Baruch Sarel (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2010), pp. 113-114.

Resources
I have set aside a shelf in the library with resources for Sunday School teachers. I will place there resources of general interest and some specifically applicable to current lessons. Other resources are kept in my office.

•    For additional commentary on the text see these commentaries in our library:
o    Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
o    Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988)

•    Three commentaries in my office may be of interest to you:
o    Making Sense of the Revelation: A Clear Message of Hope, William Turner (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2000)
o    Revelation as Drama, James L. Blevins (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1984)
o    Making Sense of the Book of Revelation, Laurie Guy (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2009), pp. 54-56

•    Maps and pictures in the library
o    The Seven Churches of Revelation: Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1996) p. 451-452.
o    Seven Churches: Oxford Bible Atlas (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 158-159, E3.
o    Bible Map Guide (Common English Bible, 2011), Maps 15.
o    Seven Churches of Revelation: The Essential Bible Guide: Bible Background with Maps, Charts, and Lists, Menahse Har-El, Paul Wright, and Baruch Sarel (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2010), pp. 113-114.