Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly in midheaven, “Come, gather for the great supper of God.” (Revelation 19:17)
What’s a poor Mennonite boy to do? This verse isn’t announcing the Great Wedding Feast of the Lamb (that’s be earlier in the chapter–Revelation 19:6-9). This verse is announcing the Great Carrion Feast:
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
Here’s a fever-dream of Christ at war, his clothes dripping in blood, his sword out to kill, “trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.” Do we own this as Mennonites?
Yes, I think we do. We remember that the early Anabaptists believed that Christ would soon appear to reign (even as we remember the tragic results this lead to in Münster). We remember (even on this election day in the United States) that, in the end, it is God who rules, not us. We pray that God will come to establish a peaceable kingdom, and we work towards establishing hints of that now.
I need to think and write on this more–but I’d be glad to hear comments from others.