THE FIRST LOVE
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write: ‘…you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for my name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have abandoned your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” (Rev 2: 1, 3-5)
In the above-cited passage in the Book of Revelation, the Lord sends this message to the “angel” (in our terms, the bishop) of the church in Ephesus, and talks about a quite subtle loss of his “first love” for the Lord. This reminds me of my own “first love,” that is, the love I had for Him at first, when I first consciously heard Christ’s call to me. Every Christian is “called,” at some point, in some way, and in this passage we are reminded to keep fresh our initial, loving response to that call; to “do the first works” we did in response to Christ, and “repent,” that is, have “metanoia” – a change of mind or focus.
The way I keep “the love I had at first” fresh is through a daily “conversion,” a daily re-focusing on Christ, Who calls me anew every day. I rekindle my “first love” from the moment I wake up, placing my focus squarely on Him, in heartfelt prayer and a bit of contemplation of His word. This Friday morning, even as I’m away from home, attending a conference in Washington, DC (at Catholic University of America), on “Byzantine Monasticism,” I ask that God not remove my “lampstand from its place”; that is, the grace-filled light of His word from my heart. Happy Friday from Washington, DC, dear friends, and please see my Speaking Schedule here on our website, about my upcoming, pre-Lenten talks here in the US, Sister Vassa