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Revelation 7:9-17

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,

who sits on the throne,

and to the Lamb.”

(verses 9-10)


Recently we viewed the filmed version of the Broadway musical, "Hamilton." At points the language could burn ears, but the story is compelling and the music and choreography absolutely enthralling. In the midst of it all there was a wild mix of ethnic diversity, with actors performing the different parts who were completely out of sorts with the historical reality of the story. But the mix, nonetheless, was glorious, a colour-blind portrayal that celebrated our common humanity. We viewed a similar ensemble just the other night in an updated filmed re-make of a Dickens classic – although portraying 19th century Victorian England, the actors were drawn once again from a hugely diverse ethnic background – surprising, but wonderful.

It’s as if these productions are expressing a latent yearning for a greater acceptance of differences and a more peaceable settled-ness in relation with one another. And all of this against the backdrop of increased racial tensions in many parts of the world, together with a growing cry, from many quarters, for racial justice.

This picture in Revelation 7 speaks to our yearnings and ideals, as well as to our failures and brokenness. For here is a picture of humanity united, not divided, not segmented, not parcelled out into hostile factions. Rather, here is a glorious mix of culture and ethnicity and colour and language and nationality, joining together in greater harmony than any Broadway musical, in greater numbers than any Black Lives Matter protest, and more unified focus than even the narrowest partisan gathering on earth could ever produce.

The members of this vast throng have a common history - they have come out of the great tribulation, having endured through depth of commitment. They have a common experience – their robes washed white, their stains cleansed away, by the blood of the Lamb. And they have a common purpose – to bring praise and honour and glory to the Lord God Almighty and to the Lamb.

For here is the only factor that could ever hope to actually unify such deep-seated diversity. It is the Lord himself. With one voice this joyful host sings out, turning their common experience into an eternal hymn of praise:

“Salvation belongs to our God …”

(Yes, for what other source could possibly bring about everlasting salvation and enduring healing for such a weighty crowd and such great need?)

“… who sits on the throne …”

(Yes, this is the Sovereign Lord who rules with justice and compassion over all he has made.)

“… and to the Lamb.”

(Yes, the Lamb who was slain, who by his blood has purchased people for God, the Living One, who was dead, the One now alive forever and ever.)

The ideals of our hearts – experienced because of the One who has created and redeemed us. Praise be to his name!


Lord, I praise you. Truly – “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Praise you for lavish grace. Thank you that it touches all. We find ourselves united in you. Praise you for rich diversity and deep unity. Praise be to your name.



Unity on a grand scale is one thing. Close at hand is sometimes harder. Think of a brother or sister who is very different from you – what can you do this week to express unity with them?


Photo by Rob Curran on Unsplash

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