Reflection for Wednesday 2nd November 2022

Jon Ellis

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Reflection Revelation 2: 12-E Daniel 2: 25-E Ps 119: 153-E Wednesday Nov 2

Revelation 2
12 ¶ “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.
13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.
14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.
15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.
18 ¶ “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.
22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.
23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you):
25 Only hold on to what you have until I come.
26 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—
27 ‘He will rule them with an iron sceptre; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’— just as I have received authority from my Father.
28 I will also give him the morning star.
29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Today is All Saints Day. The Reading is from Revelation written by John who was one of Jesus’s disciples. In the Gospel of John, he uses the phrase “The disciple whom Jesus loved”. Now in his old age he tells us his visions and dreams. He was in exile on the island of Patmos. Revelation is written in “apocalyptic” form – a type of Jewish literature that uses symbolic imagery to communicate hope in the ultimate triumph of God to those who are being persecuted.

Do you have dreams? I remember speaking to someone who was shocked when I said I didn’t dream. Apparently, there are all sorts of reasons for that. I do dream now.

What do you dream about? I don’t know about you, but my dreams are a weird mixture of visions that seem to somehow relate to situations I have been in or think about. They are not like John’s. His visions are about the seven churches in persecution. His sees the glorified Christ. A vision of the future – judgement and ultimate triumph of God over evil.

John was, by this time, in his seventies. The age that many of us in church are. Recently we have had many funerals of people our age. It certainly brings into focus our mortality. What are my visions? What do I see as important for the years I have ahead. On the Christmas card I get from one of my cousins, she tells me of the latest place in the world she has visited this year. She says that next year she plans to visit another country because she hasn’t been there yet. I have no desires like that. I don’t have that sort of dream.

Writing these Reflections has been something new for me. When John was exiled, he must have spent much time thinking and writing. If that had happened to me, I would probably have spent the time walking all around the island admiring the scenery. I wouldn’t have studied or written much at all. But it is important to consider what we do with our lives. Especially as we start seeing people that we know reaching the end of our lives on earth. The last time we went to the crematorium it was for a humanist funeral. Apparently, most of them are now. John’s warnings and hope of end times and still just as relevant today as they were two thousand years ago.

Almighty God,
you have knit together your elect
in one communion and fellowship
in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord:
grant us grace so to follow your blessed saints
in all virtuous and godly living
that we may come to those inexpressible joys
that you have prepared for those who truly love you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.