We visited the Temple of Artemis near Sardis, Turkey today. The ancient temple had been taken over by the Romans and then later the Christians built a small church on the property. One from our group mentioned that the pagan temple and the Roman structure were all in ruins, but here we are as Christians 2000 years later still worshiping God.
The Rev. Leigh Spruill shared Chapter 3:1-6 of Revelation which is addressed to the church in Sardis:
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Leigh reminded us that just as it was over 2000 years ago, it is easy for us to get “soiled clothes” and stray from worshiping God. It is easy to be distracted by pagan deities in our new world, like money and pride. But this chapter reminds us to be diligent in practicing our faith and that even when we are soiled with sin, God’s loving arms are ready to embrace us once again.