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A Letter to the Church in Smyrna
Reflecting on the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Two Days after Sunday (Year A)
Psalter: Psalm 86:11-17
Old Testament: Genesis 25:12-18
Epistle: Revelation 2:8-11
Psalter: Psalm 6
Old Testament: Jeremiah 26:1-12
Epistle: Revelation 2:8-11
Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of the First and the Last, who was dead and came to life:
“I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you are rich. I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Beware, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison so that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Whoever conquers will not be harmed by the second death (Revelation 2:8-11).
In Revelation chapters 2 and 3, the risen Jesus through John offers counsel to seven churches located in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). In 2:8-11, the church in Smyrna is the focus.
John begins by commending the church in Smyrna for their perseverance and their faithfulness even in the face of persecution and tribulation. He acknowledges their suffering and acknowledges that they are enduring it well.
John encourages the church in Smyrna not to fear the persecution they are facing, even though they may be imprisoned or face martyrdom. He assures them that their suffering will be temporary, lasting only for a specific period of time. He urges them to remain faithful until death, promising them the crown of life.
John warns the church in Smyrna not to fear the suffering they are about to endure. He informs them that the one who is victorious overcomes the second death, which is eternal separation from God. He encourages them to stay steadfast in their faith and not be swayed by fear.
John concludes his counsel by exhorting the church to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. He emphasizes the importance of spiritual discernment and attentiveness to the message of God.
May today’s church heed this counsel.
PRAYER: O God, your never-failing providence sets in order all things both in heaven and earth: Put away from us, we entreat you, all hurtful things, and give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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