“Wake up,” was the message to the angel of the church in Sardis.
I think this is the message for the church that I lead, for many churches today.
When will we wake up and smell the coffee? When will Christians today understand that the imperialistic moves of the past cannot work in our postmodern world? Even those who hate the term postmodern, should look and see that in their supposedly ‘old-fashioned’ Christian churches, there are younger generations who think differently and subscribe to a different brand of Christianity than what their parents and grand-parents practice.
So we have our works “[our] name of being alive, but [we] are dead” dead in the sense that we are not having the life-changing impact that God requires us to, because we want to keep on doing things the way we always did. So many people whom I work with insist on believing “this is how things are supposed to be done.” Ever so often, I try to get them to see that things were not that way from the beginning, that practices varied depending on the cultural settings in which they occurred.
The message to the angel admonished the church to repent, to wake up. Waking up is really tough when you enjoy sleeping on in the memory of what used to be! I find so much resistance when I suggest some things that we should repent about. Sometimes I feel like a heretic. But I’m not about giving up.
I live in the hope that Christ’s church on earth will rely on God’s Spirit and be continually renewed as we trust the One who makes all things new.
Just as the RC church has denounced involvement in transatlantic slavery, there are many other (sometimes smaller) internal bad habits that individual communions have to confess. Different arms of the Body of Christ have engaged in different practices that have undermined their witness. Each one needs to look within and confess.
For my part, I am trying to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church that I lead.