Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle / And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
— Revelation 1:13,16
Using words borrowed directly from the book of Daniel, John of Patmos introduces us to one like...the Son of man, the human one rising above a world collapsing into bestial appetites.1 This figure is taken to be Jesus, but it is not explicit. Revelation is seeped in metaphor and image and we are asked to interpret rather than have this work explained to us. The son of man (not son of God) perhaps represents each one of us, i.e. the humanity within us, conversing with the angels on one hand, while straddling the beginning and the end of everything. From the mouth of the son of man came a sharp twoedged sword indicating not war as some would have it, but the power of the Word over carnal violence. The sword comes from the mouth, not the hand. This is voice, it is not gesture.
There are two forms of the Word, two edges to the sword: logic, reason, rhetoric on the one edge, and narrative on the other—story, fantasy, fairy tale, our ability to create our own future. With these two forms of communication we can change not just minds, but hearts and spirits also. The double-edged sword of the son of man is our best, our only weapon against the bestial violence of our base selves. The son of man is our redeemer, and in that sense, then yes, this is the spirit of Jesus, come to lead us to a future filled with hope. Chapter one of Revelation sets the scene for change, offers us a vision of the kind of love we must lead with, not some sentimental niceness but a bold, courageous, compassionate love that stems from deep inner strength and a strong sense of righteousness. Working with the angels, we, the sons and daughters of humanity can effect change—but we must not be weak-hearted. This work requires all that we can give.
1 "Daniel's visions describe a world in turmoil, redeemable only by the Ancient of Days through one like the Son of man. Whereas the invading kingdoms are likened to animals, Israel herself is liked to humankind, loyally serving God, the Ancient of days." from Turmoil, Daniel 7:2-3