The Apocalypse arrived at our church a couple of weeks ago. This week, the letters to the seven lampstands, or Asian churches, were the subject of our study. Given to ponder where our church might fall amongst the seven listed, and where my family and I might, it was with intrigue requiring greater attention that the letters were broken down into their individual parts. Scripture features a form to the letters, but there was a desire by this reader to see a secondary list of all that Christ said about Himself, the commendations to the churches as a whole, the reprimands and reproof, the encouragement and reward set in paragraph form that read with each segment as a whole.
In trying to take in both the division set by John's hand, and to reorder the same writings for my own (often disordered) mind, there was a recognition in all the given areas. Astonishment anew at the repetition of Christ's identification seeped into consciousness. Conviction of wrong-headedness and desire to continue in areas of possible commendation personally. Hope for the sorts of rewards deemed most appropriate to meeting the given charges rose. The inevitable comparisons left a renewal of expectation of continuing steadfastness of the church where we worship, learn, serve, and from which we are sent out each week into this often Laodicean community and occasionally into the wider world to be salt and light.