Bible Book: Revelation / Openbaring
Verse (to): 22
Text: Revelation 3:14-22
Translated literally, the word “hot” used in verses 15 and 16 means “to boil”. It’s obvious that this is a figure of speech. Water boils – people are diligent, keen, ardent, enthusiastic, zealous. (“Zealous” sounds remarkably like the Greek word!) Christ, the “faithful and true” (verse 14) witness, mourns over the lack of ardour and enthusiasm amongst his disciples in Laodicea.
On reading verses 15 and 16, I was reminded of a “general letter” or “circular” written by Calle Almedal to churches and Christian organisations on 28 August 2006. In this letter he expresses his regret about the obvious absence of diligence of church leaders on the topic of AIDS, and he asks that Christians who are involved in the AIDS pandemic must demand greater (visible) involvement from their leaders. (Calle Almedal worked for the Norwegian Red Cross in the past and is at present senior advisor at the UNAIDS Partnerships Unit in Switzerland). I quote a few sentences from this letter:
“From my “look out point” I do not see many churches’ leaders rising above the horizon; that is a pity because so much of the work in HIV is done by churches. Perhaps the churches’ leaders are unaware of how much good work is done by their own, sometimes in very difficult circumstances and in hostile environments? If this is the case then churches’ leaders miss out on being very proud about what their brothers and sisters are doing in the field of HIV; they miss opportunities to advocate more for what is done by their own, and they miss opportunities to raise funds. They also miss opportunities to give good feed back.
We are not giving up on getting churches’ leaders more visible in the field of HIV. But we need your help too. .. “
When we reflect upon and pray about Christ’s letter to the church in Laodicea in which He mourns their lack of enthusiasm, in 2006, we should also ask specifically: what kind of diligence does Christ expect from his disciples within the context of the AIDS pandemic? “AIDS pandemic” meaning, for instance, that there are 40 million people living with HIV worldwide. Many of them are broken people because of the medical and social impact of HIV. It is estimated that 2,8 million people died of AIDS-related diseases in 2005, most of them (2 million) in Africa south of the Sahara. Imagine how many families have been left destitute because of this.
What kind of diligence do we as Christians, church goers and church leaders express in this world that we are living in today?
Postscript: While writing this tip, I received a document by email from David Patient (AIDS activist and educator) in which he makes the following statement about the situation in South Africa with regard to the AIDS pandemic: “However, probably the greatest problem is the absence of inspired and innovative leadership in dealing with HIV and AIDS.”
Author: N du Toit (Ds)