By special request, I am continuing through the seven seals.
Before the seventh seal is open, there is a pause. John has a vision of four angels holding back the four winds. And another angel with the seal of God ascending with the rising sun, who seems to stop time for a moment to seal the servants of God from every tribe of the sons of Israel. Then John sees a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages. What strikes me about this vision is how easy it seems to me as a person living today to imagine a great multitude of Christians from every background, yet how absolutely wondrous and impossible it must have seemed to John in exile writing these words. It’s hard to imagine how much hope this vision must have given to him. As I looked for an image of a palm branch to draw, I found that the palm branch is often a symbol of victory. The victory celebrated in the vision: perhaps, the Gospel message spread!
Then in the midst of a long Biblical passage that so far has included just about every dark thing known to man (war, violence, death, famine, pestilence, wild beasts, earthquakes, and stars falling to the earth), there is a tender and beautiful image:
Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him all day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger not more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away ever tear from their eyes.
What is I find most moving is the idea of God personally wiping away tears from the eyes of those who have suffered; every tear. My heart and prayer turns to all those in tears today.