Day 38 Sacred Season

Day 38 Sacred Season

38.  16th July  Disciplined in fire  Rev 3:14-22      Fiona Blair, Pastor Avalon Beach Village Church,  Advanced Candidate,  (MOW).

 14 â€œAnd to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin[a] of God’s creation: 15 â€œI know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.     Revelation 3:14-18

kangaroo ashes

Basis of Union Paragraph 4.  The Uniting Church acknowledges that the Church is able to live and endure through the changes of history only because its Lord comes, addresses, and deals with people in and through the news of his completed work

 Are we troubled by this passage?

What troubles me most is the ‘lukewarm’ metaphor that Jesus uses to describe aspects of his church. In its first century social context ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ are both positive descriptors; hot water is healing and salutary, cold water is refreshing and welcoming but lukewarm is describing something unpleasantly tepid, even nauseating.

Laodicea was considered one of the wealthiest cities of that time and region. It appears that economic and material wealth led Laodicean Christians to say ‘I need nothing’. They substituted life in the Spirit for worldly riches and self sufficiency. As a result they lost their witness and became no different from other citizens of Laodicea. They became a ‘lukewarm’ church- something completely out of fellowship with Jesus. 

 What I find comforting in this passage is that Jesus sees it the way it is and speaks the truth about this situation. Jesus is the true and faithful witness to God’s ways and he sees and names the nakedness, poverty and sickness of his church. The comforting part of course is that Jesus speaks and sees with eyes of love – he can only see us from the perspective of limitless love. What a relief! His love is unwearied, and his love acts in ways that we long for.

 Jesus’ action is an invitation to receive. He counsels the church to receive true riches from the proper source. He invites the church to make room for receiving true riches; gold that is fired and fresh from the furnace, proven pure and retaining all its beauty and lustre. This is from Christ only; he is rich! And he says “so buy from Me without money or price so that you may be rich”. “Buy” does not imply that we can, by any work or merit of ours, purchase Christ’s free gift; instead we ‘buy’ at the cost of our own self sufficiency. To make room for Christ’s riches then is to part with sin and self-sufficiency, and hold fervently to the process of discipleship and to our faithful public witness of Christ.

 Prayer;

“Wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked” – Jesus, how could we think we have no need for you?

 God of Glory, God of Grace we are sorry. Forgive us for relying on our own self sufficiency and for believing that we can handle things on our own and not have to depend on someone else.

 May we listen to your rebuke and then fall into your loving arms once again. May we hear you say to us “because I love you and want you to share in my riches, my glory and the new creation that is breaking forth, I am calling you to live by my Spirit and hold to your faithful public witness to me.”

 Jesus, you invite us to depend on you and we are so grateful and rejoice with ‘yes’.  Jesus, please continue to place us in situations where you show us how insufficient we are, and remind us that you are always enough; you are sufficient.

 Amen.

 Pray for:  Unitingworld partner –  The Presbyterian Church of Korea

 Pray for Assembly: 

 Continue to pray for election of President-elect. A second ballot will take place today if needed and declaration will happen at 3:15 pm .

 10:00 – 10:30 a.m.  and 4:00 pm  Assembly Standing Committee proposals will continue

 Today is the last day scheduled for ASC proposals so particularly pray today regarding the proposals on marriage.  Although there is a place still tomorrow for general proposals that have not yet been determined.