Sunday, December 11, 2005

Make sure you're guilty!

Pliny, governor of Pontus & Bithynia, in a letter (10:96-97) to the Roman emperor Trajan in 112 A.D. in reporting on how he was dealing with Christians of the time in his area and how had experienced some success in curtailing some of their activities and causing some to deny their faith said:
“They affirmed . . . that they met on a certain stated day before it was light, and addressed themselves in a form of prayer to Christ, as to some god, binding themselves by a solemn oath . . . never to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery; to never lie nor to deny a trust when called upon to deliver upon it: after which, it was their custom to separate, and then re-assemble, to share in eating . . . a common meal.”
These Christians were guilty of this - they met as the Lord’s people on the Lord’s Day to share the Lord's word and a meal in the Lord’s name for the sake of worshipping the Lord and prayerfully reaffirming their commitment to him as their Lord.

If all the Christians in all the world could be found unquestionably guilty of such, how different would this world be! And that is precisely what this ol' world mightily needs - for the church to be the church. Or as Jim Wallis once put it years ago far better than I ever could:
“The greatest need in our time is not simply for preaching of the gospel (kerygma); nor for service on behalf of justice (diakonia); nor for the experience of the Spirit’s gifts (charisma); nor even for the challenging of the king (propheteia). The greatest need of our time is to simply be the church, to love one another, and to offer our lives for the sake of the world (koinonia). The creation of living, breathing, loving communities of faith at the local church level is the foundation of all the other answers.”
Go and be counted guilty; come worship him who makes us so. Make sure there is plenty of evidence to convict you of being a Christian in the eyes of the world. Then your world and mine will be a better place for it.