This reading can be disturbing if misinterpreted. After we have the seal of the living God on our foreheads the land, sea and trees will be “damaged” by five angels. This doesn’t seem very angelic or saintly. Then again, this is Revelations in which all sorts of spooky things are said to have occurred. Perhaps post-Halloween this reading fits.
We are all given the power to damage the land, sea, or trees. This we do this through our wasteful practices and global thirst for energy sources that are warming the atmosphere and changing the ocean and coastal landscapes. Tropical trees and forests continue to be toppled at alarming rates. Vicious hurricanes with massive flooding and damage now seem to be the norm.
None of us will have the special seals on our foreheads giving us divine protection. We all share the Earth, and we all share its despoiling. The angels from East, West, North, and South all watch and wonder if the planet’s 7.6 billion people – all the tribes competing for space and resources – will wise up to save ourselves. It’s all quite spooky, indeed.
Deacon David Pierce