PASSAGE: "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. Yet you have still a few persons in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes' they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches" (Revelation 3:1-6).
COMMENT: The letters to the seven churches that open the Revelation to John can be seen metaphysically as wake-up calls to our own seven chakras—the centers of spiritual awareness in our own physical forms. In order to undertake our great spiritual journey, we need to marshal all of our spiritual powers, to awaken them if they have been lying dormant. This letter to Sardis is the fifth of the seven, and the fifth chakra is located at the base of the tongue—in the throat and thyroid. It is the chakra of personal power, since power is expressed metaphysically by “speaking the Word.” As we marshal our forces for the challenges that lie ahead, we must be willing to claim and express our innate spiritual power.
We may pay lip service to this new dimension of spiritual awareness, and we may go through the motions of putting that awareness into action. But the Power of God is not deceived. “You have a name of being alive, but you are dead.” We cannot move further on our spiritual path by simply being obedient to outside guidance; we must recognize our own innate divine power, and have the faith and confidence to “wake up.” Our work will not be “perfect in the sight of … God” until it forcefully expresses the power of God within us.
Charles Fillmore, the American mystic and a founder of the Unity movement, taught that all characters in the Bible correspond to thoughts in our consciousness. From that understanding, the second part of this particular letter becomes a loving warning not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” There are many thoughts in our consciousness that have not become “soiled” with the fear-based input of our mortal senses and emotions. This great spiritual journey, then, is not about finding outside of ourselves “God thoughts” that we don’t contain within. The journey requires us to look within, to find those thoughts that are not soiled but purely expressive of perfect Spirit, to “clothe them in white robes” and make them our guides and inspiration.
“The book of life” is another image that will recur often as the Revelation unfolds. It cannot be a question of life as opposed to death, for death is a mortal illusion, not a spiritual truth. I think of “the book of life” as a roster of spiritual entities (that would be us) engaged in this great human adventure. We can be ‘blotted out’ of the book, not by dying, but by living our lives in ignorance of our spiritual identity and spiritual purpose. It is this spiritual ignorance that causes us to wander aimlessly through many painful life experiences, until the inevitable moment when we remember who we are and what we’ve agreed to accomplish together.