When Christians think of biblical epistles (letters) to churches, the Apostle Paul might immediately come to mind. But contained within the first three chapters of Revelation are seven compact succinct letters to seven different churches. What makes these short bursts of exhortation so powerful is that they come from Jesus himself. Yes, that Jesus – the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. So, it seems to me that Christ’s observations about the church carry more weight than anybody else’s thoughts.
“I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God.” Ouch! The Lord pulled no punches in getting to the heart of the church’s life… that is, death. The stark reality is that this statement from Jesus still remains penetrating and relevant; it could be said of a great many Western churches today.
So, what is to be done about the situation of spiritual deadness in the church? “Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent.” Boom! There it is. If the Christian Calendar seems to be a liturgical downer by spending forty days of Lent in a state of repentance, then perhaps the Christian Year is not the problem but a provided avenue of getting square with God. Maybe the issue is our own shortsightedness, lack of remembrance of Christ’s redemption in all things, and perpetual insistence on personal agendas which do not jive with Christ’s teachings. In short, we have forgotten Jesus.
Awesome Lord Jesus, your words penetrate to the core my being. Strengthen me by the continuing presence of yourself through the Holy Spirit so that my every thought, word, and deed is done in your Name. Amen.