Commented Bible Passages

These Bible meditations are meant as a way of seeking God in silence and prayer in the midst of our daily life. During the course of a day, take a moment to read the Bible passage with the short commentary and to reflect on the questions which follow. Afterwards, a small group of 3 to 10 people can meet to share what they have discovered and perhaps for a time of prayer.

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2019

June

Revelation 3:14-16,19-20: Christ at the Door of our Lives
The Risen Christ said: “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. […] Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:14-16,19-20)

These words come from the book of Revelation at the very end of the Bible. They are intended for the church of a city called Laodicea. It may seem that Christians in this city are missing the point of their lives. They are neither cold nor hot, says the text. Neither for anything, nor against. They are lukewarm.

Could they have lost the meaning of their lives? They no longer believe that there might be something to look for or do. They have become self-satisfied, indifferent and disengaged. The course of things does not matter to them. They think they do not need anything or anyone. They are content with what they consider their wealth, their possibilities, their know-how. All this will make it very difficult for them to remain in communion with Christ.

Through this text of the Apocalypse, Jesus invites them—and us with them—to recognize their lack, to seek their wealth in God, to make choices, to engage, in a word: to live. It is this call to life that Christ addresses us when he knocks on our door. It’s as if he were saying to each and everyone: you do not have everything in your existence; there is a dimension of depth that you could still discover. So show some zeal, you can live differently!

With Christ, it is life, real life that knocks on our door so that we recognize God in it. Not in extraordinary manifestations or extraordinary events, but in the humble everyday life of our lives. Already the prophet Elijah one day experienced it: God rarely breaks down our doors by an earthquake, fire or storm. More often, he is discreet in his approach to us and he invites us to discern his presence (see 1 Kings 19).

Everything in our life can bring us closer to him. Happy and unhappy events are all occasions for us to turn to God to express our praise or complaints. We might see in the relief of a landscape or the flight of a bird the trace of the hand of the Creator. We might discern in the face of a person we meet the features of Christ. We might discover in an unexpected intuition the breath of the Spirit.
Everything can become a place of God’s presence. But even when we are alert, it does not happen automatically. It may be true that Christ knocks on our door, but we do not always hear him.

This is why the beginning of Revelation repeatedly says “He who has ears let him hear....” Nothing is automatic, but there is this promise: “I will come to him and take a meal with him and he with me.” It is God who is at work, it is Christ who comes to us; and when we hear his word, it is a communion that is established. The text expresses this through the image of intimacy that is a shared meal.

When we cannot hear him, one attitude remains possible. It is the way the book of Revelation ends. It reads: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’ Let him who hears say, ‘Come!’” (Revelation 22:17). When we do not feel anything of the presence of God in our lives, we too can call out, “Come!”

- What does it mean to be neither hot nor cold? To what extent does this portrait of the believers of Laodicea describe our world today, our Christian communities? Can anything be done about this?

- How does Christ knock at our door today? How can I hear his knock? How can I open the door?



Other bible meditations:

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