Revelation 1: 17 – 2:7
Matthew 23: 1 – 12
Oh my! What foreboding texts for today. So full of gloom and doom. The prophet receives a harsh warning with respect to the waywardness of the people. The psalmist is so overcome with grief as to withdraw from once normal discourse with his friends. The seer is taken for a walk among the lamp-stands representing the Churches, each one under the ever watchful eye and judgement of the Lord. The scribes and Pharisees are hearing woes condemning the lack of integrity with respect to much of their religious practices.
In my struggle to find ‘light’ in the midst of so much darkness, I found myself drawn to Jesus’ words to the angel of the Church in Ephesus. He commends them for their toil and patient endurance. However, his complaint about them? “You have less love now than you used to.”
Love for Christ and his teachings. It seems the original love, for whatever reason or circumstance, was greatly diminished or abandoned. The judgement and call for us to be renewed in that first love leaves me wondering. What would the One who walks among the lamp-stands say of our own Church, of its love? Is it generously hospitable, fully inclusive, genuinely compassionate and radically committed to the justice that marks the reign of Christ? And, likewise, what about me and my love? How have I abandoned it? So today, I pray for our renewed joy in the Gospel, for strength to live our lives in the light of its teachings and blessings and for mercy on the day of the Lord’s judgement of all who bear His name.
and Fred Hiltz