Page 1

‘Blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it.’


Vicar’s blog: Revelation Intro Here we go. On the first Sunday of August 2014 Malmesbury Abbey will emerge into the ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus found in John’s Gospel. But for the next 13 weeks we read, listen, worship and pray our way, together, through the last book of the Bible; Revelation. Welcome to the most misunderstood and avoided book of the Bible. The book where a large number of Christians have got to the end of Chapter 5 and simply said ‘I’ll think I’ll jump to chapter 21. No harm in that.’ (Thereby missing the Hallelujah! chorus tucked away in Revelation 19.) This blog is a very brief introduction, which includes a number of insights and quotes from Eugene Peterson’s book Reversed Thunder. We’re also recommending Tom Wright’s Revelation for Everybody and Paul Langham’s Understanding Revelation. REVELATION? Yes, a Revelation, not Revelations. The first three Greek words of the book offering us the title: Apocalypse Jesus Christ; a revelation of Jesus Christ. An uncovering, a revealing of and from Jesus. Heaven and earth interconnected through words spoken and written; through the Word. Why wouldn’t disciples of Christ read every chapter, and take time with every word? 65+1=66 There are 66 books in the Bible. Revelation is the last, and it is pretty impossible to read and understand well apart from at least some of the other 65; particularly Ezekiel, Daniel, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Isaiah & Exodus. In the 404 verses of Revelation ‘there are 518 references to earlier scripture.’ Our daily readings in the centre of this news sheet will take us slowly through Revelation with some of the associated Old Testament references. Don’t miss the opportunity to read these. ESCHATOLOGY A word that you might hear in the coming months, which simply means the study of cats. Or alternatively the study of the last things. ‘Eschatology involves the belief that the resurrection appearances of Christ are not complete.’ By the time we reach Revelation 21 we should be starting to realise that Easter Day began something unbelievably glorious, transformative and cosmic, which Christ will return to complete. The post-resurrection fish breakfast in Galilee (John 21), the broken bread on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24), and especially the bread and wine of

our own Holy Communions are all eschatological. They point to the end, to the wedding supper of the Lamb and his bride. But that’s Revelation 19; July 20th, at a church near you. IMAGINATION G.K. Chesterton wrote that ‘though St John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his commentators.’ He was right. And many pastors and teachers have let an uninformed imagination run hopelessly wild as they led many astray in this book. However the challenge is to allow our imaginations to be alive and our faith to be refreshed as we read Revelation, but to stay healthily connected to the orthodoxy of the other 65 books of the Bible. BLESSING When we talk of ‘beatitudes’ most people think of Matthew 5. But there are other biblical beatitudes and you’ll find seven in Revelation. (I wonder if that’s a significant number?) The first is this: Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. You and I are about to be blessed. Christ is present with the words of this extraordinary book. Our challenge is to slowly absorb this book, and then to keep it within. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book. (Rev 22:7)

Abbey Diary THIS SUNDAY: May 4th 8am BCP Holy Communion 10.30am Holy Communion 4pm Informal Worship, Junior Church & The Grid EACH DAY TUES 6th

9am Morning Prayer Abbey & Café closed all day for organ tuning WED 7th 10.30am Holy Communion 3pm Funeral of Win Hyde THURS 8th 10.30am Time for Chat 4pm Evening Prayer 7pm Choir Practice SAT 10th 10am Healing in the Streets NEXT SUNDAY: May 11th 8am BCP Holy Communion 10.30am Holy Communion 4pm Informal Worship, Junior Church & The Grid 6pm The Mix//The Campbells May 21st June 3rd June 9th June 20/22 July 2nd July 15th July 28/29 Aug 3rd Sep 13th Oct 7th Oct 17/18 Oct 31st Nov 18th

Healing Ministry training Glory! Small Group pastors training Church Weekend Away Music for Autism WOMAD at the Abbey Holiday at Home New Wine Archbishop in Malmesbury Confirmation at the Abbey BBC History Weekend glo in the dark Junior Church party Glory!

Revelation 1:1-8 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,2 who testifies to everything he saw – that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. 4

John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father – to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. 7

‘Look, he is coming with the clouds,’ and ‘every eye will see him, even those who pierced him’; and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of him.’ So shall it be! Amen. 8

‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’

Additional Reading: Mark 1:14-20 14

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’ 16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ 18 At once they left their nets and followed him. 19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

small group resource + 1. 2. 3. 4.

5. 6.


Share broadly in your group how you have experienced the book of Revelation so far as part of your Christian journey? What stood out to you from last Sunday’s teaching? What does Revelation mean? Read verses 1-3. What are the implications and challenges of verse 3? Is this an unconditional or conditional blessing? Which phrase in verse 3 links with a verse in the Mark passage above? How do Isaiah 11:1-3, Daniel 7:13—14 and Zechariah 12:10 inform what we read in verses 4-7? Read verse 8. What are the pastoral implications for you, and for non-believers, in accepting that God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all history? Read the whole passage then keep a minute's silence. Repeat this. Then pray from what the Spirit reveals in the text to you.

daily readings MONDAY Ps 89:14-37 Isaiah 11:1-9 Rev 1:1-8

TUESDAY Psalm 2 Zechariah 4 Rev 1:9-16

WEDNESDAY Psalm 95 Daniel 10 Rev 1:17-20

THURSDAY Psalm 19 Job 9:1-11 Rev 2:1-7

FRIDAY Psalm 116 Daniel 1 Rev 2:8-11

Archbishop of Canterbury 10 candidates have so far signed up to be baptised in Malmesbury on Saturday 13th September at 4pm by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Weather permitting this will take place in the river and an outdoor celebration will follow in the Abbey grounds. More details and sign up at

Abbey Guild All are welcome at the next Abbey Guild meeting on Tuesday 13th May at 2.30pm in the King’s Church, Abbey Row. Our speaker at this meeting will be Emily Knight from Dorothy House. Refreshments available.

Books on Revelation The Abbey Bookshop is stocking three recommended books on Revelation for our 3 months series: Reversed Thunder by Eugene Peterson; Revelation for Everyone by Tom Wright; and Understanding Revelation by Paul Langham.

Funeral of Win Hyde The funeral of our dear sister Win Hyde will take place at the Abbey on Wednesday May 7th at 3pm. The service will be conducted by Revd Bob Hyatt.

Refresh! The next women’s Refresh! will be held in the Abbey on Tuesday 13th May at 7.30pm. We will be continuing our study of the Psalms, this time looking at Psalm 119 with our guest speaker Henny Metters from Hullavington. The evening will also include singing, and refreshments will be available. Invitations can collected at the back of the Abbey should you wish to invite a friend. Please contact Sandie on 01666 826666 or to book your place.

Christian Aid Week 2014 For a growing number of people across the world, the horror of war is part of daily life. The good news is that individuals, communities and churches can make a real difference this Christian Aid Week. Last year 20,000 churches across the country helped raise £12m for Christian Aid Week. Thanks to these efforts, many more people can look forward to a future free from poverty. The main events in Malmesbury this year are: Sat May 10th – Car Wash at the ATC. 10am-3pm Sat May 10th – Street Collection, 9am-1pm. COLLECTORS NEEDED Sat May 17th – Market Cross Stall, 8.30am-1pm. CAKES NEEDED 11th – 17th May – House to House Collection – COLLECTORS URGENTLY NEEDED If you can help collect (either in the High Street or with the House to House) then please contact Dick Gray (01666 823979 or

May 4th May 11th May 18th May 25th June 1st June 8th June 15th

Revelation 1:1-8 Revelation 1:9-20 Revelation 2 Revelation 3 Revelation 4&5 Revelation 6&7 Revelation 8&9

The Last Word on Scripture The Last Word on Christ The Last Word on the Church (1) The Last Word on the Church (2) The Last Word on Worship The Last Word on Evil The Last Word on Prayer

The Last Word Revelation at Malmesbury Abbey

Contact ABBEY OFFICE Mon &Tues (9.30am-12noon) Weds, Thurs ,Fri, (9.30am-2.30pm) 01666 826666 Staff members can be contacted by NORMAL CAFÉ HOURS Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 9am-4.30pm Wednesday: 12noon-4.30pm Sunday: Closed all day

Holiday at Home 2014 Willing volunteers required for this years Holiday at Home on July 28th & July 29th 2014. . This is a great opportunity to serve the older members of our community and have good fun into the bargain. Mandy and the team need volunteers for all aspects of the event – being with people, participating in games, washing up, serving food, helping with craft and lots more. Your time commitment can be between a couple of hours to helping on both days. For more information or to offer help please contact Mandy on 01666 824416 or



Abbey News Sheet 5th May