Friday, December 24, 2010

Advent and Apocalypse: The Church at Laodicia

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame , and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Does the door upon which the Lord knocks have a mirror on the inside? The message to the Laodicians seems to suggest that it does. We can sit comfortably in our little rooms and convince ourselves that we are the Brain of Britain, a highly toned Adonis with an eight-pack, clad in the clothes of purest silk of the latest fashion. However when that knock comes, we have to approach the door in order to open it, and we are then in danger of seeing the truth, that we are obese, clad in a tatty, stained sweatshirt and too-tight jogging bottoms, and that any intellectual prowess we believe that we have is no more than a C grade spelling test which we took when we were nine. Do we still open the door?

The truth does hurt, but it is so much better for us than deception and delusion. Christ is faithful and true and He cannot lie because He does not need to lie.Whatever we really think of ourselves, it is a distorted view of what is true. When Christ knocks we can continue in that delusion and never know Him, or we can face up to the truth and thus come face to face with the Truth.

Whatever we think of ourselves is immaterial. God created us and God redeemed us, it is impossible to get any clearer signs of His unconditional love than these. The trouble is that it's a tough love too. It does come with so many promises of hospitality, good company and holy revelry that surely facing up to the pain of the Love of God is worth it.

Give us strength, Great King of Martyrs, to face up to Thy Truth and learn to see ourselves in Thy Light. Deliver us from the distortions of self-adulation and self-abasement, that though our sins appal us, Thy Light may enthrall us and spur us on to open the door unto Thee, Blessed Jesu Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost reignest forever and ever. Amen.

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