This all came to mind today as I read that famous passage from the 7th chapter of the Revelation of John; you know the one year hear at funerals all the time. For the first time today I found myself wondering about the "great ordeal" and thinking, "you know what, I'm betting that has nothing to do with an apocalypse or the rapture." It seems to me, awake 15 minutes before my alarm by a hungry baby, planning 2 weddings and a funeral along with the regular flow of our liturgical life, busy at home with grocery shopping, cleaning, doing laundry, paying bills, budgeting money, etc. etc. etc. It seems to me that life itself is "the great ordeal." We are in a constant struggle against what the world would tell us to do and to be that quite frankly I don't think we need some super-cosmic-battle-royal to convince us to wash our robes clean in the blood of the lamb.
Life's hard enough without lakes of fire and seven headed beasts. So, let's make a pact. Let's agree to work together to survive this "great ordeal" so that in the end, whenever and however that may be (again I don't care) we can say, as a community with Jesus as our head we survived. Thanks be to God.