I recently was privileged enough to spend a weekend with young adults from St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Houston, TX. During our retreat, I got to reconnect with some old friends and one of them shared a youtube link with me that renders the four horses of the Apocalypse as My Little Ponies. You can watch it here. After viewing this (several times I might add), I have been reflecting on how this spoof of the Apocalypse connects with John’s version in Revelation and lo and behold! today of all days we get in the Daily Office readings, the four riders coming into the world after the first four seals are broken. If you read the passage and compare it with the video, I think you’ll find some important differences. However, many people, both Christians and non-Christians, are only acquainted (oftentimes negatively) with the fantastical vision of John put forth in Revelation through various liberally-twisted “rapture” narratives and scenarios. Usually in these narratives, the people who God hates are the people the authors or the preachers hate, and the “pure” are delivered from the evil clutches of said group into a heaven whose markers are often cleanliness and tidiness rather than gospel inclusiveness. I am curious about what you readers might think about this dynamic and would love for you to share any experiences you might have had pertaining to the topic (unless of course you wish to unleash death pony upon me a sinner (then you should send me a video post)).
But what really caught me in the readings for today was a portion of the Parable of the Sower. With the image of the martyrs underneath the altar of the Lamb in Revelation crying out for justice, I couldn’t help but imagine how this cry for justice is one of the marks of sainthood. The justice that the saints cry for is one borne of the justice that is often overlooked in the Biblical record. It is a justice that flows forth from the several relationships we either tend or mismanage upon this earth. As the seed of justice, truth and love is scattered freely throughout creation, we humans can choose to choke it, to ignore it, or to make a home for it in the rich soil of our hearts. The unifying principle for me is that a saint is one who, more often than not, chooses to tend it—who chooses to tend their own “soul soil” in the hopes that the fruit that it bears will provide nourishment for others. I give thanks for all those who have gone before us who gave themselves over to that mighty work and pray with them on this day, that we may together move toward that day when there truly may be justice AND peace on this earth.