Most of us are familiar with the concept of a woven piece of art. Whether it is a rug, a tapestry, or even a Christmas sweater, the front side of a woven piece displays a beautiful picture, while the backside reveals a messier version. If all we ever saw was the “backside” of the sweater/tapestry/rug, we might think that the art was more worthy of the refrigerator than the Louvre. Oh, but when we turn the woven piece over … WOW! The art becomes crisp and beautiful.
We live in a world that has two sides. One side is messy and awkward, while the other side is bright and glorious. Our problem is … we forget which side of the “quilt” we are on.
We are tempted to think that this world is the “front side.” When we think that way, we expect things to be more obvious and evident. We hear that God is sovereign … but then we look around and it can FEEL like this world is spinning out of control without anyone at the wheel. We understand that God is a God of justice … but then we see so much injustice in the world around us. We say that God is present with His people … but we sometimes feel alone. We look at this world expecting to see everything in HD clarity, and yet it looks a bit fuzzy. If we assume we are looking at the “front side” we will be tempted to doubt core beliefs.
Rather than assuming that Biblical truth is a lie, might I suggest another possibility? Could it be that this world in which we live is somewhat like the “back side” of the woven work? We see signs that point to God’s sovereignty, justice, and presence … but it is a bit of a patchwork of yarn, scarred by the fall. However, the stitches we see in this world, remind us that there is a beautiful work of art that is being prepared on the other side … if we could only see it!
In Revelation 1:9-20, the Apostle John is toiling away in a prison camp on a lonely island called Patmos. Talk about the back side of the quilt. Jesus had promised John and His friends that He would return to this earth … but 60+ years had gone by and Jesus had not yet returned. Jesus had promised that He would be with them always … but John felt alone. Jesus had said that they would reign with Him … but John’s friends (the other Apostles) were killed because of their connection with Jesus, and John was in prison. It is at this moment that Jesus invites John to see “the other side.” And WHOA! What a vision! What a work of art!
The world in which John lived … the world in which we live … is the back side of the tapestry. We need to remember what is really going on, and who is really in charge. We need to flip the sweater over and see the work of art. We need to be reminded of who Jesus truly is.
This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship services, we will be in week 2 of “The Lord of the Church” (part of our year long study of Revelation), as we look at Revelation 1:9-20 and allow these verses to flip the rug over and show us a contemporary portrait of Jesus Christ.
SPOILER ALERT: He does not look like the picture hanging on the wall of your Sunday School classroom from the 1970s. In the words of C.S. Lewis, what we see is a Jesus who is not “safe” but who is “GOOD” and who invites us to know Him and be with Him forever. See you Sunday … and bring friends!