Love and Hope

Greetings to the Seven Churches

From John to the seven churches in the province of Asia:

Grace and peace be yours from God, who is, who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits in front of his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first to be raised from death and who is also the ruler of the kings of the world.

He loves us, and by his sacrificial death he has freed us from our sins and made us a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father. To Jesus Christ be the glory and power forever and ever! Amen.

Look, he is coming on the clouds! Everyone will see him, including those who pierced him. All peoples on earth will mourn over him. So shall it be!

“I am the first and the last,” says the Lord God Almighty, who is, who was, and who is to come.

The Book of Revelation is written to seven churches, at a time when Christians were being persecuted.  The author wants to give the readers hope – and to encourage them to remain faithful.

At its most fundamental it reminds us that God loves us – and because he loves us has freed us from our sins.

How is that for you?  How good are you at loving?  Not just doing the loving , but allowing yourself to be loved?  Can you be vulnerable to let others in? To touch your life and show you how precious you are?  Do you know God’s love?  Have you felt it?  Will you allow him to wrap you in his arms and love you to bits?

Is part of our struggle to allow ourselves to be loved, because we are aware of how many things we have got wrong?  Does that get in the way, or make us feel we are not worth loving?

God wants each one of us to know that he loves us dearly, whoever we are, whatever has happened in our lives.  He sees us and loves us so much he wants to free us from all that holds us – how much greater love can there be than that?

The result of God having done that, we are told, is to make us a kingdom of priests.

Do you feel that there is nothing you can do?  Do you feel useless?

Not so, says God.  Because those he loves and frees, he also calls.  You are part of the kingdom of priests to serve God.  A priest is someone set apart to live for God.  We think about it usually in terms of those ordained to a particular role, but Methodists believe wholeheartedly in the Priesthood of all Believers.  Each and every one of us has a part to play in being part of God’s church and living in his ways.

And why? To God’s glory.  All of God’s works are to show the way to him.  In us, through us, with us – pointing the way to him.

Thank you God

for the depth of your love for me,

for seeing beyond the things I have got wrong,

taking their hold over me,

and wanting to use me,

even me,

for your work.

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