Support the Café

Search our Site

Speaking to the Soul: Babylon the Great

Speaking to the Soul: Babylon the Great

Week of Proper 26, Year Two

[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 56, 57, [58] (morning) // 64, 65 (evening)

Ecclesiasticus 38:24-34

Revelation 14:1-13

Luke 12:49-59

As of today, we’re just one year shy of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Our reading from Revelation this morning includes a character who was very important to sixteenth-century Christian reformers: the whore of Babylon. These reformers argued that the whore of Babylon was none other than the Roman Catholic Church. After labeling the church in this way, reformers could justify their separation from her. They argued that a later verse in Revelation demanded that they reject Roman Catholicism, for “a voice from heaven” ordered, “Come out of her, my people, so that you do not take part in her sins” (Rev 18:4).

It’s so easy to justify behavior after labeling someone or something a “whore.” Our passage today records the voice of an angel proclaiming, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” That’s Babylon, for you: She is fallen. She is drunk. She’s a fornicator. Therefore, we can justify however she’s treated.

This practice of labeling people as intoxicated whores and then justifying their punishments has a long history in our Scriptures and in our church conflicts. Today our prayers cry out for this narrative and this language to be rewritten and reformed, and for comfort and justice to find all those who have been harmed by it along the way.

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.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café