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Open door

I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Revelation 3.8

We inhabit an over-achievement culture, which insists that we must be richer, more beautiful, better qualified, &c to be worthwhile. Of course we deny it and we pass laws to secure the "rights" of every vulnerable individual and social group we can think of and we march in solidarity with the oppressed, whether they be underpaid workers or those of a previously illegal sexual orientation. Yet underneath it all is that relentless pressure to justify our existence through personal greatness. And, while it used to be assumed that this would be the reward of an heroic deed, celebrity culture now brandishes the mirage of instant success/ instant fame - no merit required.

The Risen Christ's letter to the church at Philadelphia (the ancient Asian city, not the modern American metropolis) suggests a very different perspective on greatness. Uniquely among the recipients of these 7 letters in the opening chapters of Revelation, the Philadelphians are not censured for anything, only commended and encouraged. They may be weak in the context of their physical environment, yet their strength of faith and integrity of lifestyle have thrown open the door to divine blessing.

This matters because the future belongs not to the corrupt world as it is, which is dying, but to the New Creation which God is bringing about and into which he is inviting those who are willing to turn their backs on the blandishments of instant gratification and false greatness, in favour of the way of Jesus. This may look daunting but it leads ultimately to where we all aspire to go and therefore cannot be avoided. Time to go...



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