Gospel to the Estranged
Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. (2)
Revelation chapter 2 and 3 are Jesus' message to the seven churches in Asia Minor. These were intended to strengthen the churches in that time but they are relevant in our contexts today. The passage which we are meditating today was addressed to the church in Sardis. Sardis was a wealthy township. They had a name and reputation but they were imperfect and dead in Gods perspective. According to Bible 'death 'also can also be defined as the separation from God; alienated/estranged. This can be seen in the Garden of Eden and in the parable of prodigal son.
God gives strong commands to the estranged. They are commanded to wake up and strengthen their spiritual life. They have to live according to the messages they received from God. It requires a confessing and repenting experience as in the life of the prodigal son, who is a symbol of everyone who is estranged from God. The gospel portion says when he came to his ‘right senses 'he submitted himself into his Fathers love. This return was from alienation to fellowship and from death to life. When we live a life away from God we are spiritually dead. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit they broke their relationship with God and that led them to a spiritual death. Today many of us are going through the same experience as the church in Sardis. They had material abundance and financial prosperity, they were famous and desired to have a good reputation but led a life with spiritual death.
The letter ends with a warning and also with an eternal hope. If the believing community is not awakened, they will be abandoned. Those who hold their faith and stand firm will be rewarded. White garment, name in the book of life and acknowledging their names in the presence of Father are the new possessions of the redeemed community. So the faithful community throughout the world may grow in Christ.
Let us examine ourselves. Are we alive or dead in our relationship with God? Like the church in Sardis, are the material abundance and busy schedules of life keep us away from God? If so we need to get back into the fellowship with Christ. We need a 'right sense'. What is meant by right sense – it is an understanding that we are being passionately loved by God. Let us abide in that everlasting love.
Prayer: Lord, let the spirit of renewal may start from me first and let it permeate and strengthen our church too.
Thought for the Day: Awake and Alive for witnessing
Seena Sam, Carmel MTC, Boston.