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Speaking to the Soul: A Thousand Years

Speaking to the Soul: A Thousand Years

Week of Advent 4, Year One

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]            

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 61, 62 (morning) // 112, 115 (evening)

Isaiah 11:1-9

Revelation 20:1-10

John 5:30-47

As we approach the end of the approximately 2016 years since the birth of Jesus, Christians have learned at least one thing: A thousand years is a long time. Knowing that a thousand years was a long time, the author of our second reading today chose a thousand-year period to represent a glorious age in which Christ would return and rule. Christ’s thousand-year reign of justice and peace would be unimpeded by Satan, who would be chained and sealed in a bottomless pit.

It’s no wonder that the author of Revelation longed for this thousand-year reign. He desperately wanted a sign that execution was not the last word for Jesus, or for those who had suffered since. In fact, according to this passage, Jesus would share power with those who were killed for their faith: “I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus . . . They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” In this vision, these headless souls would ultimately get the justice and power that they deserved.

By now, Christians have waited for this thousand-year period for almost two thousand years. Throughout this time, Christians have invested a lot of energy predicting when this millennium would arrive. In the meantime, though, we could have experienced that kingdom almost twice over. How will Christians spend the next thousand years? Will we pass the time waiting for Christ to come, or for the next transition in worldly power? Or will we spend the time inviting and embracing the kingdom wherever we can? A thousand years may be a long time, but there’s no time to lose.

Lora Walsh blogs about the Daily Office readings at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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