Friday, 31 May 2013

Something Divine in Them

Emperor Hadrian (the one who built the wall to keep the Scots out) persecuted Christians. One Christian - Aristides of Athens - wrote to the emperor in defense of his brothers and sisters.

It's interesting to see what he picks out as their distinctives. In his words, the divine life in them, leads them mainly to incredible self-sacrifice.
“The Christians know and trust the True God. They placate those who oppress them and make them their friends and they do good to their enemies. Their wives are pure, and their daughters modest. Their men abstain from unlawful marriage and from all impurity. If any of them have slaves they persuade them to become Christians because of the love that these masters have toward them and when they become believers their masters immediately call them brothers without distinction. They love one another. They do not refuse to help widows. If someone is doing violence to an orphan they rescue the child. He who has gives ungrudgingly to him who has not. If they see a stranger they take him to their dwellings and rejoice over him as over a real brother, for they do not call themselves brothers after the flesh but after the Spirit and in God. If anyone among them is poor and needy, and they do not have food to spare they fast for two or three days that they might supply him with the necessary food. They scrupulously obey the commands of their Messiah. Every morning and every hour they thank and praise God for His loving kindness toward them. Because of them there flows forth all the beauty that there is in the world. But the good deeds they do they do not proclaim in the ears of the multitude, but they take care that no one shall perceive them. Thus they labor to become righteous. Truly this is a new people and there is something divine in them.
I fall far short of this, but as Western democracies run out of steam in general, and money in particular, it may well be this kind of service that becomes a more familiar part of a Christian's daily discipleship.

For more, click here.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

A Call To Anguish

David Wilkerson - famously preached the gospel in the ganglands of New York in the 1960s.

Here he is in his latter years on the difference between concern and anguish. A stirring clip from a full sermon found here.

I fear I have more concern than anguish - more of a furrowed brow than a broken heart.

Sunday, 12 May 2013