Responses to the Fall of the Mighty City

Text: Revelation 18:9-20

Reflection and Question: Babylon, which could represent any great world power, is probably a stand-in for Rome, the empire in power when this passage was written. Before this point in Revelation, the fall of Babylon has been graphically described. Most of this passage is the lament heard from political leaders, merchants of all kinds and the shipmasters who transported that wealth — those who ruled over and succeeded in the great city. In startling contrast, the passage ends with the rejoicing of the saints, apostles and prophets over God’s judgment rendered in this destruction. When our empire falls, what will be your response?

Prayer: Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right side or your best side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition, but in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that I can make of this old world a new world. Amen. (Martin Luther King Jr.)

This meditation is based on the Daily Lectionary Year 1 from the Book of Common Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1993).