Kindred in Christ,

During my time in seminary, I took a class on the book of Revelation by New Testament scholar, Dr. Osvaldo Vena. I grew up in a stream of the church that painstakingly tried to take this biblical text literally, and would often link its passages to end time predictions that they believed where unfolding on the evening news. One of the first things I learned from Dr. Vena is that the majority of the book is meant to be symbolic for it is written in the apocalyptic genre, known to depict fantastical beasts (like dragons and other characters common to Harry Potter) and cataclysmic scenarios in order to critique empire and help people imagine the coming of a better world. Along with being a brilliant scholar, Dr. Vena was also a musician. On our final session, he brought his guitar and led us in the popular 70s song, Imagine by John Lennon. While this song initially angered many Christians because of its lyrics inviting us to “imagine there’s no heaven,” Dr. Vena pointed out that John of Patmos (the author of Revelation) invites us to be dreamers of a similar world—one where heaven comes down to earth and there is no more injustice, divisions, and war (Revelation 21). Join us this Sunday as we conclude our series Dream Big, and explore further the kind of dreamers God may be calling us to be in our present time. I hope to see you in the comments on Facebook Live!

Rev. Paul Ortiz