Our first readings this week are from the Book of Revelation which consists of a variety of visions of the Apostle John. Today’s reading comes from a section that deals with the seven angels, or bishops, of Turkey’s peninsula. A series of visions has revealed to John the spiritual condition of those seven bishops.
We have no record as to whether or not those bishops took John’s warning to heart, reforming their lives. But their different spiritual conditions are put in the Bible in the hope that if we have the same faults we would reform out lives.
So, first, John warned the bishop of Sardis, telling him that although he appeared to be alive spiritually, he was nearly dead. As well, that bishop of Sardis had been involved in kinds of work that were not acceptable to God. John urged the bishop to stir up the last bit of life in his soul before death visited him like thief in the night. If you share the failings of the bishop of Sardis, then you should stir up the last bit of life in your soul before death comes to you like a thief in the night.
Speaking to the bishop of Laodicea, John noted that the bishop was fond of saying, “I am rich, and have no need for anything.” Is that like something you might say? It does sound like me. You should wonder about how God sees your life. If it is a very comfortable blend of good and bad behavior it might be similar to that of the bishop of Laodicea. John spoke of such a life as being like a drink that one expected to be quite cold or quite hot, but which is discovered to be a blah lukewarm. God might spit out someone who was merely lukewarm.