[This is the fourth in a series of sermons in interpreting America in the 21st century in light of the Book of Revelation. The series will continue, monthly for about two years.]
Revelation 3:1-22—Shalom Mennonite Congregation—January 22, 2012
So, what is the book of Revelation really about? Since it has been two months since my last sermon, you all have probably forgotten….Let me suggest one word that I believe is at the center of the book: Power.
We may read Revelation as a book of conflicts—the Beast vs. the Lamb, the Holy Spirit vs. the False Prophet, Babylon vs. the New Jerusalem. The question is: Who is more powerful? Which is actually the question: What kind of power is more powerful —the power to conquer through domination or the power to conquer through self-giving love? On this question hangs the fate of the earth, perhaps we could say. Certainly, for John the writer of Revelation, on this question hangs the fate of the churches.
The seven messages that make up chapters two and three, the first of Revelation’s many visions, set the book’s agenda. In my last sermon, I talked about “power in weakness”—how the little church in Smyrna, besieged, suffering persecution, with little visible power, actually was praised above all the other churches and proclaimed to be rich indeed.
Today, I will focus on “weakness in power”—how the big church in Laodicea, wealthy, comfortable, lacking in nothing, actually was condemned above all the other churches and proclaimed to be “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” Continue reading