You have to admire those early Christians.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be a 1st Century Christian.
I want to be a 21st Century Christian.
I’m not too bothered about revisiting ancient Middle Eastern customs & practices.
I live in the UK in a modern society.
But you have to admire those early Christians.
I’m glad I don’t have to believe the things they mistakenly took for granted.
(I sense I am a little more enlightened than them – though I could be wrong.)
The search for the mysteries of God through the sciences means we understand so much more now about the vastness
of the earth
and of ourselves.
We are discovering His handiwork in places where the ancients couldn’t imagine.
God is truly great.
I’m glad I live now – in the 21st Century.
But you have to admire those early christians.
I don’t want a return of their lifestyle.
They would run,
meet in secret,
talk in whispers,
I don’t want any of that.
But you have to admire them.
You should admire them.
When they decided to follow Jesus – it meant a great deal.
It cost them everything.
For far too many it cost them their lives.
For those who kept their life, they willingly gave up their way of life – in order to truly follow.
They believed they were part of a new Kingdom.
A Kingdom with different values than the physical one that ruled over them.
They lived out these values.
So as they hid, they stuck out like a sore thumb.
They couldn’t help it.
They were different,
yet somehow strangely attractive.
They expected their fellow followers to join them in living a new life.
They expected their way of life to invade society
Slowly challenging and changing people as it grew.
Like branches of a tree.
In short – they believed in transformation.
Of people and of places.
It didn’t quite happen as they thought it would.
But you’ve got to admire those early Christians.
They started something.
We can help it along to its finish.
I believe in transformation.
Of people and of places.
Perhaps you do too.
They had something we need.
Not those old naive beliefs,
and localised practices.
(We’re far too intelligent and developed for that – though I could be wrong))
Rather their overriding trust in their King, Jesus.
Their tireless efforts to help Him bring His Kingdom to Earth – like it was in heaven.
Oh they believed in transformation.
They lived out transformation.
Now they form a great cloud of witnesses
as we do our part. (at least that’s how I like to imagine it).
And so we at this church pause for LENT.
And we learn together again what it means to follow.
And we help each other stir up the goodness & the gospel that God placed in us.
And after pausing we will return.
Wiser than we were before.
fitter for service.
And many things must change.
I hope we’ll be ready.
We have to be ready.
We’ll be ready.
Because we believe in transformation
And it starts with us.