I see everything you’re doing for me. Impressive!
The love and the faith, the service and persistence.
Yes, very impressive! You get better at it every day…
But why do you let that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet
mislead my dear servants
into cross-denying, self-indulging religion?
Revelation 2: 19–20 (The Message)
The church in Thyatira appears to be doing well. They have love and faith, and appear to be serving others – much of what we would know as ‘Our Calling’. Yet they too are warned for allowing ‘Jezebel’ to mislead people. There were some in their church who taught about a self-indulgent faith, a faith that looked after number one and only said things that people wanted to hear. It avoided the difficult parts of faith – the crosses that were part of following Christ.
How often are we guilty of that? How often do we prefer to hear the parts of the Bible with the ‘nice’ message, the ‘easy’ message? How often do we wrestle with the challenging parts of the Bible and the face the challenges that being a Christian brings to us? Being a Christian isn’t always a bed of roses: we were never promised it would be. Reading the Bible isn’t always easy; hearing sermons that challenge us can be uncomfortable – but Jesus wasn’t some meek and mild man who stroked animals and blessed babies. Jesus was one who stood against injustice, for those who were oppressed.
That’s what we are called to do. Faith isn’t just about feeling good and knowing we are saved; it’s going out and tackling the bad in our world. Church isn’t meant to just serve our needs, but should be a place that reaches out to others and wants to meet their needs, whatever they are, which can be really uncomfortable for us.
One of my favourite hymns encourages us to look at the needs of those beyond the church walls. ‘Have you heard God’s voice?’ (Singing the Faith 662) by Jacqueline Jones encourages us to see the world through the eyes of faith, and to act, to stand up for those who need us.
God of Justice and Peace
We thank you for the many blessings which you bestow upon us
For the parts of scripture which fill us with awe and wonder
We ask for strength to face the challenges that lie ahead
Wisdom to tackle the difficult passages of scripture
Love and patience as we support each other on our journey of faith