Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle Revelation 4:6b-7As of lately, I am now developing a watchful, alert attitude toward when somebody in power uses the word "Hybrid" to describe how they might be changing an organization, job description or making a transition within the organization. One of the employers of one of my other jobs described how I am not going be employed this summer because the organization is trying a "hybrid" model they saw working elsewhere in another state. So I got a two line e-mail rather than a pink slip saying I am not needed this summer.
In the Bible, John the Divine who wrote the Apocalypse or Book of Revelation also uses "hybrid" half beasts and half humans in the narrative. James Resseguie's Narrative Commentary on "The Revelation of John" (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009) says the hybrid describes the nature of living beings during of change. John the divine uses part beasts and part human creatures to describe the nature of humanity. That is we can act part human and part beast when it comes to deeply stressful situations which threaten us or our family. If we want security and cannot get total certainty in our lives, we will settle for almost certain, even if it is questionable (666 instead of seven, the number of completion). We will be humane to our immediate family, but act like the predators such as wild outside of our own homes. I once knew a manager who talked nice on the phone to his granddaughter, then fired a pregnant mother who he feared would raise the health insurance rates of the company.
In this sense, Revelation can apply to any time period when radical change in technology, economics, government or status in the community threatens our security needs. The hybrid animals look and sound scary! They can be loud, intrusive into our calm, secure homes and threaten to pull the rug out from everything we once believed about what is right and wrong in the community.
So do we watch one of those "Dooms Day Preppers" shows and dig in, save canned food and load up on firearms? Revelation 5: 11-13 has hopeful words, "worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! ... To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" The victory of Jesus the Lamb over all forces of evil is reason to have a feast of victory. The God of the Hebrew and Christian Bible finally wins! The small town church tries to live out its faith in this Christ the lamb. It offers meals, snacks, worship opportunities and fellowship to remind all of us that though hybrids come in all shapes and sizes with cars, corporations, and changing financial challenges, our God has won the victory! William Willimon a United Methodist Chaplain and Bishop once declared, "We are an Easter People!" Amen.