September 17, 2020,
Good afternoon,
Letter to Pergamum.  Revelation 2:12-17

Pergamum is located north of Smyrna. The people lived below the mountain. The Gods lived on top of the hill. The regular people came up the hill to donate things to the Gods. There was, as was usual, a stadium, a theatre and temples. One of the largest temples built was dedicated to Zeus. The marble from the temple was stolen in the 1800’s and taken to a museum in Berlin. The trail up the mountain is so steep, that they now have installed a cable car for tourists. The site includes one of the steepest theatres in the ancient world. It is a beautiful view in all directions.

We do not have any other mention of the community of Pergamum other than here in Revelation. In verse 12, Jesus is referred to as the one who has a ” sharp two edged sword ” .John ( and Jesus ) know the community. They are both faithful and sinful . They hold to the teaching of Balaam and Balak from a long time ago. They practice fornication and eat  food given to idols. He says, ” to repent “. At the end, it talks about getting a white stone from Jesus, and different names are written on it. With much of the book, you need to know the Old Testament, and the faith of the Jewish people to interpret and understand the meaning of the different symbols. What is the white stone about ?

We are like the Pergamumites, being both faithful and sinful. We know the teachings of the New Testament and from Jesus. Are we tempted to not follow the ways of Jesus, because we will lose power, money or sexuality ( Richard Foster wrote a book about these three themes.). Each week we pray, ” lead us not into temptation “. What are you tempted to do that goes against the ways of Jesus ?
Dear God.Help us to listen with new ears to your teaching,
so we do not find ourselves sinning, with
 they are sins that are the samefor Revelation and today.
Help us to transform ourselves
to be places of grace, compassion and repentance.    AMEN.