Rector’s Letter May 2017

Dear Friends,

I have been reading the first few chapters of Revelation in my daily Bible Readings recently.  Christ’s seven letters to the churches are very striking – they are essential regular reading to keep us on the right track.

To the church in Laodicea He writes:

Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
Revelation 3:20

These are precious words to many Christians because they were the words through which Christ brought them to Himself.  And at first sight that’s what the words sound like – like a first encounter with Christ, like the first time you invite Him into your life.  Yet that’s not what Christ originally meant by them.

They were words originally addressed not to an individual but to a group of people and it wasn’t non-Christians that Christ was speaking to but Christians, which means there is something quite disturbing about these words.  Because presumably, since Christ is speaking to a group of Christians – the church in Laodicea – the door on which he is knocking is the door of the church.  Christ, the Lord of the Church, is standing outside while the church is meeting and He is knocking on the door asking if anyone can hear His voice.

When the church meets, shouldn’t Jesus be in there with them?!  Surely listening to the voice of Jesus and enjoying fellowship with Him ought to be the first priority for a church.  Yet somehow this church has got to the point where Jesus is no longer present and nobody has noticed.

It’s a pretty terrible situation – and we have to ask ‘how did this happen?’  The answer comes a little bit earlier in the letter.  Jesus says to them “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’  But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”  (Revelation 3:17) They had lost their sense of spiritual neediness.  They had arrived.  They no longer felt the need to learn from Jesus and grow.  There was no spiritual hunger.  To put it bluntly, they are people who don’t need Jesus anymore.

So at St. Andrew’s let us be earnest about our relationship with Christ.  Let us be realistic about our spiritual poverty and let that lead us to yearn earnestly for Him to be at work more deeply in our lives.

In the weeks after Easter we are especially reminded of the reality of serving the Risen Lord.  He fully intends to be involved in the life of our church – how could it be otherwise!

Did anyone hear a knock at the door?
With love in Christ,

Joe Dent
Rector