‘I wish you were either hot or cold, but you are lukewarm,’ says Jesus to the church in the book of Revelation. Guilty as charged. There are too many days that my faith feels lackluster. Sometimes my prayer life feels like going through the motions but I wish my prayers were more like icy cold springs of water refreshing the spirit. Some days I get busy managing church affairs and forget that we Christians are called to rise up like hot springs which heal broken lives.
We do not want to be a lukewarm people of God. And so the final word of the Christian Bible offers us guidance. Jesus had been gone for a generation or more and now the house churches were faced with the challenge that has confronted the church ever since, how to reveal the spirit of Christ in the world. Revelation reminds them that the church has failed. And Revelation offers them an encouragement and hope.
In his book, Reversed Thunder, Eugene Peterson writes:
“The churches of Revelation show us that churches are not Victorian Parlors where everything is always picked up and ready for guests. They are messy family rooms. Entering a person’s house unexpectedly we are sometimes met with a barrage of apologies. St. John does not apologize. Things are out of order, to be sure, but that is what happens to churches that are lived in. They are not show rooms. They are living rooms, and if the persons living in them are sinners, there are going to be clothes scattered about, handprints on the woodwork and mud on the carpet. For as long as Jesus insists on calling sinners and not the righteous to repentance – and there is no indication as of yet that he has changed his policy in that regard – churches are going to be an embarrassment to the fastidious and an affront to the upright. St. John sees them as simply lampstands: they are places, locations, where the light of Christ is shown. They are not themselves the light.”
I am deeply grateful for all the ways that you as a church have shown the light of Christ. We are not the light. But through you I have seen the sick healed in Nicaragua and India; the teenagers in our youth center empowered and encouraged to grow and change; the hungry fed at Micah; the grieving embraced with love in our Columbarium; the lukewarm adults set on fire to love because of an anthem sung with passion in the sanctuary.
I love sharing our messy family room with you!
Peace and grace,