I am sitting on a bus on the corner of 33rd and seventh avenue in New York city. Leaving the epicenter of world culture, capitalism, and cultural diversity is something of bittersweet this evening. On the one hand I am beginning my journey back towards my home, family, and life, but I am leaving behind a friend whose loyalty, love, commitment, patience, and wisdom have punctured into my heart and soul. The past days have brought into my life moments of intense joy in the fellowship of my closest of friends along with those of whom these friends live most intimately. But they also have enlightened my heart to a world I had previously only been able to imagine. This educational experience has left me deeply challenged on a number of levels.
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song:
"You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth."
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!" The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.