(This blog, taken from a funeral message based on Revelation 7, 11, 12 and 19, was preached Saturday, 7 September, 2019 for Christian sister Esther Wallace.)
Trouble doesn’t have to be national or international to hurt, cause pain or inflict sorrow and distress. Most trouble begins individually before it affects families and societies.
The women of the Nolasco family have experienced a high mortality rate. Of six daughters born to Serafin and Ulpiana, three have died of cancer, two are present cancer survivors—one of them the victim of a devastating stroke. Only the youngest daughter remains free of cancer at this time. Their two brothers are both healthy seniors.
(Judy and I chuckled mournfully when a family member told her that a staff member at Glen Abbey Mortuary said she looked familiar. She should be, the family member replied, since she’s been at Glen Abbey too many times in the last several years.)
What will happen next, and to whom? We cannot say. We can say that the family’s experience with cancer and death somewhat parallels the trouble afflicting the church near the end of the first century. And we can offer to the family the same hope and assurance God gave John the Apostle in Revelation.
A point of history. The Revelation of John the Apostle, came from God about AD 95, a year before bloody Emperor Domitian died, and several since he had smashed a mailed fist into Christian assemblies empire-wide. He encouraged his cities to stage spectacles of persecution of Christians: crucified in arenas; tarred and lighted into torches in the Colosseum; sewn in animal skins and flung before ravenous beasts as spectators applauded and shrieked in delight.
Everywhere in the Empire: Christians victimized, brutalized, helpless, anathematized with Rome triumphant. End Part I