Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.” – Revelation 11:15 (NRSV)
As someone who finds themselves tongue-tied in the aftermath of an insult, I am grateful for standby comebacks for a quick response. On the playground when someone lobbed a barb my way, my childhood response rotated between “I know you are but what am I?” and “I’m rubber and you’re glue; whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!” As an adult, where an insult might come in the form of a question to my integrity, I rely on Kelly Kapoor’s signature statement, “First of all, how dare you?”
Sometimes insults or negative thoughts are not personal; they are communal. “Injustice will always win.” “We’re too broken to change.” “Everything is hopeless.” We put down our world, our communities, even our churches, with doom-and-gloom sentiments when we’re exhausted and discouraged, proclaiming our pessimism so that we might bring down others with us.
In those moments, it takes something as bold as the blare of a trumpet or as unexpected as loud voices shouting from heaven to cut through the negativity and remind us that this is God’s world, God’s precious creation, and Christ will reign forever and ever.
This proclamation from Revelation is the perfect snappy comeback for the next time we forget there is no amount of doubt or despair that God will not transform into hope, no stumbling block that God will not turn right side up, no insult that God will not return with love.
Haters gonna hate, but may we be quick to proclaim a different way.
Liz Miller serves as the pastor of Edgewood United Church (UCC) in East Lansing, Michigan.