There was a quiet muttering of renewed acquaintances subdued by the silence of the hall. Old alliances were acknowledged with a stern handshake and a muttered joke, but they all knew they were here for the last time.
There were two times twelve of them, one from each of the great states of Earth, the Elders of their lands selected for their wisdom and authority.
Most of them were tall, as befit this room with its overpowering arches and this great throne around which the empty half circle of chairs stood.
The arc of chairs was perfect, each fixed for centuries in its position and used once every decade for the Elders’ Congregation. It stuck one of these elders that the room was most unfamiliar with people, being empty for these ten year periods and occupied for a few short hours, a flash in time.
The character of the murmer changed and a drift towards the chairs began.
They settled, and there was silence.
One of the Elders rose to his feet. “Gentlemen, we have one item on our agenda. Would those in favour please stand.”
Those who had arrived with doubts had found them dispelled by the atmosphere of the place. They rose at their various speeds, according to their age and dignity, unanimous.
“Then do it.”
Each man removed his crown, the symbol of his power and the weight of his responsibility, and cast it down at the foot of the throne of the Lamb.
Each gathered his things and returned to his land, a lightness in his step.
Someone explained to me this bit of Revelation recently, and I kind of liked this picture of the elders throwing down their crowns. I’m sure my version of it is completely wrong, but what I really got out of it was that all that they had done during their lives was important, but they could just be freed of the responsibility by submitting completely to God.
I think out of everything I need to learn, that’s the most important thing for me.