A Daily Dose of Good News
Monday, June 22, 2020
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Good morning! It is June 22 and time for our Daily Dose of Good News. So, we’re reading from Revelation today, 2:1-7.
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands:
2 “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance. I know that you cannot tolerate evildoers; you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. 3 I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this is to your credit: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.
Here ends the reading.
Revelation, as you may already know, is one of the most visual books of the Bible, full of imagery and sensation and very much written in a way to evoke feeling. So, that’s a little bit of a shift from our sometimes more logical, practical, very literal mindset. So, it’s a bit like poetry, it’s a bit like art- with lots of symbolism and looking at the truth of God in different ways, in different perspectives, with different viewpoints- which is part of the fullness of God. So, that can be a fun thing to do. So, the beginning of this text, starts with imagery right off the bat, of explaining the angel is saying: “I want you to write this to the church in Ephesus, and know that these words are from the One who can hold seven stars in His right hand”. The imagery of that, symbolically, that God can be so big, so amazing, so everywhere, so majestic, so all-powerful- just the feeling of what’s that like. That these words are from the One who holds seven stars in His hand, if He wants to. “He walks among the seven lamp stands”, and the lamp stands are typically symbolic representations of the church. So, God’s walking among the churches, and what’s that like? What do we think about when we hear those words?
Then, there’s pretty specific detail about: “This is what you’re doing that’s great”, and encouragement even in that, as in, “I see you.” “I recognize that you’re working and that you haven’t grown weary.” “You’re persisting, and you’re looking at people who claim to be apostles and aren’t, and weeding them out, and trying to stay to the truth to the Gospel.” “But, I have this piece against you: you have abandoned the love you had at first.” I think that component is remembering how deep our love can be for God, and holding on to that, centering on that. The directive is: “I want you to repent. I want you to recognize what you have left, what you have fallen away from, what you have given up. I want you to repent and do the things you used to do at first.”
I know as good Lutherans, right away, we’re probably going to say: “Works righteousness! No! We’re not about works! No no no!” I think what is trying to be conveyed in this text, is more about some of the discipline of turning your ear to God, being with God, being present with God.
Since Revelation, is a little bit similar to poetry- and I haven’t read poetry to you on the Daily Dose of Good News, I’ve sung and done other things, but I haven’t read poetry- I thought this poem by Kathy Sherman called “The Deep Well” which is in a text by Joyce Rupp, kind of goes along with this in maybe a helpful way.
How far down into my secret self, do I go? How far until I find You, whom I seek? How often until I am saturated with love? Further, always further, so it seems. Lower the bucket of prayer into the depths. Slowly bring it forth and taste its treasure. This constant dipping inward to the Source, can be a slow, tedious, and lengthy process. At other times, the bucket falls without effort. And I draw forth quickly. Drink until I am full.
I think we can consider- seeking God, putting the bucket into the well of our souls and seeking God and asking: ‘What do You want me to know? What do You want to show me? Where is Your Love in abundance?’ We can pray, and focus, and re-center ourselves on God.
So, I hope you enjoy the imagery from Revelation, as well as the imagery from the poem, and if you like simply more literal, my shirt says “Just Don’t Quit” which is a good reminder for us, to just put our eyes on God, don’t lose the love we had for God at first, keep centered on that, and keep focused on that. That’s our orientation. I hope you have a great day that is full of abundant love from God. Take care everybody. Bye-bye.