The reading from Revelation 22 concludes the book’s resurrection songs: the baptized enjoy the fruits of the tree of life. But the tree is not merely one of the countless archetypal trees that religions and cultures everywhere have imagined.
Although in the final chapter of Luke the ascension occurs on Easter Day, in the Acts of the Apostles the imagery of 40 days intensifies the story line. It is also mythically alive, a time pregnant with a religious future.
The humanitarian plight of Syrian refugees and the terrorist threat of ISIS seem likely to dominate the cable news channels for weeks to come. But it’s unclear whether Christian preachers will continue to discuss these issues now that the season of Advent has arrived.
On the surface there is little connection between ISIS’s campaign of terror and a season that invites us to prepare for the return of Christ.