In Part 2 of The letter to the church in Ephesus, we’ll look at the Divine Knowledge. The things Jesus knows about the church. Usually, this is good news for the receiving church. However, that’s not always the case. Jesus told the church in Ephesus that He was among them, and us, all the time. Now we’ll find out if that was an encouraging reminder, or a stern warning.
And so it begins. The first of the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation. The Letter to the church in Ephesus. Jesus had some good things to say to them. And some bad things. But then another positive statement. The Ephesian church certainly wasn’t in the worst condition of the seven. But then, it wasn’t the best either. So there’s plenty to look at. Both for the church in Ephesus at the time and for us today.
2020 has been a difficult year. COVID is all over the world. With it comes various restrictions that make people upset. What seems to get lost is the more than 1,000,000 (1 million) people who’ve died from it. So far. There will be more. As you read this, more people will die. Also apparently forgotten or ignored are the healthcare workers. They tirelessly risk their lives, including for people who selfishly get sick for their own pleasure. These same healthcare workers also get sick. And they add to the number of dead and dying. But still, this is Thanksgiving. How do we give thanks?
A healthcare worker dies from COVID. Does anybody notice? I tried to find out how many healthcare workers died from COVID so far. Even Google, who knows pretty much everything, can’t answer that question. The numbers of dead healthcare workers related to COVID isn’t tracked. And so, in some respects, the answer to the title question is, “No, people don’t notice.” But that’s not quite true. People do notice. Some people. Notice certain deaths. But at the same time, no one notices how many deaths.
I heard a restaurant owner on the news this morning talking about Darwin and COVID. He was talking about how Darwin didn’t say that the strongest survive. Rather, Darwin said it was the most adaptable who survive. And this particular person wanted to be one of the adaptable ones who survive.
There is, of course, a problem with that. Well, a few problems. The first one is that Darwin never actually said it was the most adaptable who survive!
You may remember So in love with two. It comes from a song about a girl in love with two boys. But I look at it as a Christian, in love with Jesus and someone or something else.
Ultimately it’s not up to us to decide what Jesus is asking of us.
It’s up to us to decide whether we want to do what He is asking.
If we decide which things we want to do and which we don’t – the result will be like that camel going through the eye of a needle – it’s not gonna happen.
If we do what Jesus asks – then all things are possible – including that camel making it through the eye of the needle.
So – what did Mikaila’s song choose?
Hey, hey, hey
I choose the both of you
What can we learn about COVID from Lamentations? I believe we can learn a lot. If we want to. Lamentations is about how the Israelites reacted to being defeated, having their homes and cities totally destroyed, and then either being in captivity in their homeland or being exiled to the land of their conqueror. Sounds pretty bad, right? Lamentations was a look at how the people reacted to those events. Reactions like anger. Blame. Self-pity.
But then they moved on to the point of recognizing what was really happening. They also moved on to the realization that there was hope. And where that hope was going to come from. So yeah – it sounds like we can learn quite a bit from Lamentations. The thing is though, the lessons learned back then were rather short-termed. Soon forgotten. Therefore, if we do learn anything from their experiences, the challenge for us is to hopefully remember what we learned.
How did Christianity get to be like this? You ask, Like what? Let me answer, initially, with a hint, rather than a direct answer. Some think one of the worst things to happen to Christianity was when Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity. As history is showing, that’s more significant that most people probably realize. The parallels to what’s going on in the U.S. today are incredible.
Historians now debate whether “the first Christian emperor” was a Christian at all. Some think him an unprincipled power seeker. What religion he had, many argue, was at best a blend of paganism and Christianity for purely political purposes.
What happened to Christian transformation? You know – becoming more Christ-like? It used to be important. But now, does it mean anything more than switching to a church that we like better? One that supports our view of God, the way we created Him? That’s as opposed to a church that teaches and helps us to become more like Jesus. The Jesus Christ who’s the namesake of the Christianity.
Do you mourn over the loss of in-person church services? If so, you’re not alone. But my question is actually more about the mourning. The process. The reasons why you mourn. That’s because the Bible actually gives us lessons, of a sort, on how and why to mourn. They’re in one of those Old Testament books that we don’t really like to read.
Lamentations is all about mourning. Grieving. All the gory details of what happened to Jerusalem, Judah, Zion, the Israelites when they were defeated by Nebuchadnezzar and sent into exile.
I believe they can help us today as well,
with COVID and the loss of in-person church services.