What a huge relief to be back in the sane and safe territory of “the REVELATION of Jesus Christ…communicated by His angel to His bond-servant John.” In His seven letters to the seven churches in chapters 2 and 3, one line famously jumps out seven times, namely, to have an ear for “what the Spirit says to the churches.” If I have capitalized REVELATION, it is to make a necessary distinction from the “revelations” on You Tube and social media that had given me such an eye- and earful that I felt “provoked in my spirit.” Acts 17:16 says that of Paul when he encountered the multitude of idols in Athens. My shock came from the post-election hype vented by cranky party die-hards of every stripe, and “prophets” with a seemingly private hot line to God that renders them accountable to no one. The possible upshot is that you either buy a gun – or enough toilet paper to wrap around yourself to become cocooned from the madness.
The seasoned Bible student in me first had me scour my bookcase for commentaries that would dissect the anatomy of the seven churches of Revelation, giving me an objective handle on my conflicted feelings. This somewhat unorthodox “Body” language applies to the congregations at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. The Lord commended them for their strengths, exposed the sins requiring repentance, and comforted the persecuted believers. The Ephesians, infamously, had left their first love. The Laodiceans were so lukewarm that Jesus shockingly planned to vomit them out of His mouth. I have sometimes wondered if a brave enough church would actually install a stained-glass window of “The Nauseated Christ.” Mentally, I even stepped into our sanctuary to see where we would hang … and then obscure it with a tall Ficus tree, also known as “weeping fig.”
Amazingly, this is precisely where it hit me! The seven churches under Christ’s scrutiny and care were local and individual in nature. Suddenly there welled up in me a deep gratitude and fierce joy for having been placed by Him into the family of faith at the Granada Hills Presbyterian Church! I had left my first church home of 43 years due to a secret heartache that never quite went away, even though I subsequently worshiped and served briefly at two good valley churches. By “good” I mean that Christ’s lordship was evident in the preaching of God’s Word and acts by parishioners that spelled out His love. Even so, I was afraid of becoming a picky “Cafeteria Christian,” especially after my cancer fight in 2008 that left me feeling isolated and wanting to drift away – perhaps to a place of belonging where my heart could finally heal.
Two facts may state that I have come home. Signed papers attest to my wish to remain here and eventually be laid to rest in our lovely memorial garden. Also, whenever I see one of my devotionals appear on our Words of Inspiration page, I unblushingly click on the heart. It means I keenly love sharing my gift to glorify God and having the honor of being affirmed by generous readers who long, as I do, for an ear that can hear what the Spirit is saying to our beloved church. Could He be whispering REVIVAL?