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My Revelation-like letter to the American Church

Today in my Sunday School lesson we took a look at Jesus’ letters to the 7 churches in Revelation 2-3. We noticed that they follow a certain pattern. The pattern includes:

1) a description of Jesus (taken from Chapter 1)

2) a section headed “I know,” introducing praise for what is good about that church (except in the case of Laodicea).

3) a criticism of the church (not in the case of Smyrna or Philadelphia).

4) a warning or instruction

5) a promise to those who “overcome” (whose fulfillment we see in chapters 19-22).

As a class activity, I asked everyone to write their own letter using the same pattern. A letter to the church. We took a few minutes to do this. I had not ever done this before so I did as well. The submissions were very good and intriguing. I, as a minister, was a bit hesitant to assign this project to those who I serve, especially with the bit of “right your own rebuke of the church” in the letter. I don’t have theirs to post, but I do have my own that I wrote in the 5 to 10 minutes that we had allotted for this. I wrote it in Spanish, but I’ll translate here for you:

In the name of Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, I congratulate you on your decision to follow Christ. That is the best possible decision that can be made. However, I have to tell you, because I love you in the Lord, that you must take more seriously the faith which you have confessed. In a country that is so blessed, you should as a church have a much greater impact, both locally and globally. The problem is that you are too interested in yourselves, and not interested enough in loving your neighbor as yourself. If you do not begin to live invested in the interest of your neighbor, both near and far, than you will not experience the full blessing and will not accomplish the purpose that God has for you. But those who humble themselves now, in this life, my God will exalt in the age to come, and in a way that goes beyond what you can even imagine.

I write this of course to myself as well. May God help us to surpass our own self-interest, and in humility serve others with Christ-likeness.

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