Marva Dawn recently died.
Her writings on worship and pastoral care have been valued by many.
But her writing on the book of Revelation, borne of study and personal experience of disability provides wonderful insight.
Recalling how the rapacious abuses that early Christians had endured would have been in their minds, the message of Revelation provides an assurance that echoes through generations:
…Christ is still the sovereign Lord, and so we can be faithful to his purposes – knowing that eventually He will vindicate His people and restore the temple. (In fact, as we shall see at the end of the The Revelation, there will no longer be a need for the temple, for the presence of the Lord Himself will be all that His people need.)
The message for the twenty-first century is the same: God’s ultimate sovereignty empowers our faithfulness. As various empires desecrate our places of worship, cause immeasurable suffering, or mock our faith, we can respond with diligent witnessing – knowing that the sovereign Lord will eventually triumph and vindicate His people.
What is the witnessing task of the Church today? We proclaim the sovereignty of God, not of the nations. Perhaps that might take the form of speaking against the pretensions of nations that would seek to control the world by means of military power and economic exploitation. Perhaps our task is to proclaim to kings the judgment – or hope – of God. Most of all, our task is to live faithfully the ethics of God’s kingdom in our own communities, to stand as a witnessing people against the lifestyles of a world that wears the mark of the beast on its forehead and right hand. We are to be a people marked instead with the Father’s name, persons who live in total dependence on Christ. And then, even if we are killed in the process of such a witness, we will be called to come up to hedge, and the world will be astonished at the greatness of the sovereign God.
Marva J. Dawn, Joy In Our Weakness rev. ed., Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2002, pgs. 147-148.