“Yet, I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” - Revelation 2:4
Jesus knows each church community and each person in it. He knows our strengths. He knows our weaknesses. The community of believers at Ephesus received praise from Jesus for persevering in the truth. Yet there was a character flaw that needed their immediate attention. They had lost their first love.
This is a powerful revelation. Church communities can be faithful defenders of God’s truth, but their love for God can also grow cold. Love is what happens when the amazing grace, mercy, and love of God wash over us, cleansing us, flooding our souls, and making us new. It seems incredible, but God loves us without limit, though we do not deserve any of his love.
Every church community and every member of it needs to linger and live in the wonder of God’s gracious love. We need ways to remember and celebrate this love in the songs we sing, the prayers we raise, the stories we share, the sacraments we celebrate, and the care we give to others.
Jesus uses a word in this letter that brings us back to the way he started his public ministry: “repent.” This is a call to turn around, change direction, and get back on course. For church communities to be Spirit-filled, “golden lampstands,” the passion of love needs to be pulsing through our veins.