Thoughts for Monday 31st August 2020

Psalm 83:1-4, 13-18; Exodus 4:10-31; Revelation 3:1-6 

 

Monday 31 August 

 

It is always a surprise to me that possibly the stand-out figures of both the Old and New Testaments, Moses and Paul, were not eloquent; and this, I think, ties in with the message to Sardis from Revelation today as well. In Exodus 4, Moses tells God that, ‘I am a poor speaker, slow and hesitant.’ And it’s much the same in 1st and 2nd Corinthians, where at 1 Corinthians 2:34 Paul writes, ‘When I came to you . . . my teaching and message were not delivered with skilful words’ At 2 Corinthians 10 and 11 he then goes on to confirm this by writing, ‘Someone will say, “Paul . . . when he is with us in person . . . his words are nothing!” (10:10) and ‘I am an amateur in speaking,’ (11:6). 

 

And the reason this ties in with our passage from Revelation is because one of the problems God seems to have had with the Church in Sardis was that it was more about image than substance. We live at a time when, as Marshall McLuhan has taught us, the medium has almost become the message; and yet it was probably always true to a certain extent. The Roman authorities were highly skilled, for example, at public relations. If something can look good and attractive – sound convincing – is said authoritatively, and with enough confidence, then that’s all we want. 

 

But God tells Sardis, ‘You have the reputation of being alive, even though you are dead!’ For God can see beyond the façade of the Potemkin Village of their glossy brochures and sharp suits, and knows that there’s nothing there; nothing, that is, of any value or worth – no Gospel or Good News at all. 

 

Which is very good news indeed, I think, for those of us who, unlike the Martin Luther King Jrs (and the Martin Luthers) of this world – the Winston Churchills, but also the Adolf Hitlers – are not able to address a crowd, and hold their attention. God, in our readings today telling us that what is far more important than oratory is that, like Moses and Paul, we are able to be sincere and courageous; and that our churches and congregations are able to be places of sharing, caring and love. 

 

When, what God does is to give us Aarons and Apolloses (see Acts 18:24) who are good speakers. 

 

Let us pray: 

 

Prayer of St John Chrysostom (Golden-mouthed) 

 

O Lord, enlighten my heart that evil desires have darkened. 

 

O Lord, send down Thy grace to help me, that I may glorify Thy name. 

 

O Lord Jesus Christ, write me in the book of life and grant unto me a good end. 

 

O Lord, sprinkle into my heart the dew of Thy grace. 

 

O Lord, quicken in me a good thought. 

 

O Lord, give me tears and remembrance of death, and contrition. 

 

O Lord, implant in me the root of all good: Thy fear in my heart. 

 

O Lord, grant that I may love Thee from all my soul and mind, and in everything do Thy will, 

 

Amen.

 


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