Acts 2:46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.
I envy the First Christians. Their faith seemed very simple and straightforward. They worshipped and studied each day, and made time to frequently share meals and break bread together. They weren’t encumbered with almost two thousand years of ecclesiastical history, denominational divisions, or cultural conflicts. They just simply, purely, and innocently practiced their faith in cheerful, faithful, and joyful ways.
Where did we go wrong? What moved us off the simpler path to Christ? Christians today are fiercer than ever and fighting battles that are not important. Whenever I read something belligerently written by some Christian group, whether they be conservatives or progressives, which berates the other side, I feel badly inside. In the past, I’ve created and contributed to these self-righteous invectives, but I’ve now reached a point where I ask myself this: what does it prove? How does it help Christ’s Kingdom? What do people outside of the Church think of us?
I’d like to get back to those simpler days of sharing the Gospel and breaking bread together. I’d like things between all Christians to change, so I know that it has to begin with me. I may not get it right all of the time; I hope I don’t wander from the simpler path, but I know that the Church – whether local, national, or even international – can’t go on beating itself with its own stick. The world is broken and we need to be healers sent from Christ, but we can only do that if we honestly heal ourselves of our self-sustained prejudice, arrogance, and ignorance.
Questions for reflection
What is the role of the Church in the world? How does it present that role in my local community?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we are all sinners saved by Your grace, but sometimes we forget that we are essentially unworthy and unholy. Redirect our lives and re-position us on a simpler path of faith. Cleanse us of ecclesiastical arrogance and cultural conflict. Teach us Your Way, so that we can faithfully present Your Truth and live Your Life. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is currently the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to make comments or ask questions of today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest drawings. It’s called “Spirit of Autumn.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on this link: Spirit.