We’ve Come a Long Way
I do a great deal of reading about the first century Christians. I am enthralled by the writings of these leaders, including the men who wrote the Gospels. Of course, we have to remember that there were many more than four gospels. The four that appear in our Bible are the ones not rejected by the Christian leaders in Rome after the 4th century CE. I have read four others, so far.
Most of the early Christians were desert people, who did not want to be ruled by what they referred to as the decadent state. They had no formal theology or doctrine. Like Jesus and the Jewish prophets before him, they told stories, parables to explain how God was within their communities. They abhorred ego and told stories of love, virtue, and inner freedom, or as Jesus said, the kingdom of God within. They sought a true relationship with the Christ and rejected those who desired to narrow the views of Jesus to their own narrow means.
I find it fascinating that the (modern?) church is eschewing much of the old-time religion and accepting that there is an individual relationship with God and that God is not confined to inside the church doors. Now don’t misquote me, or misunderstand me, I am not against organized religion. I happen to love worshipping in St. George’s Episcopal Church on Sundays, or on other days I am in attendance. I receive a great deal of love and enthusiasm that is shared by my fellow brothers and sisters in the congregation. The combined aura that permeates the sanctuary is the cause of many blessing that I have received. This is to say nothing about the fellowship and friendship I share with the men and women whom I pray with.
I am what is referred to as a healing prayer minister, who serves the congregants who want a special prayer either for themselves or a loved one. I feel the presence of God within the circle when we pray for a certain issue. I particularly love having a child or young adult join with me in prayer. I am also extremely affected positively when I am hugged by one of our hearing-impaired members. We all share a special bond when approaching God. I feel truly blessed by the love and confidence my fellow Episcopalians place before me. I know, and they know, that it is not me who is speaking. I form the words, but they are not mine.
We need to be willing to listen, willing to leave our egos aside and search for that which is greater than us. Just as the early disciples and the first century desert dwellers, we must open ourselves to something other than a world of technology. We must leave our cell phones behind. The communication we search for will not come in a text message; it will come through our very core, our heart.
The parables in the Gospels, and those told by early Hebrew prophets and the first century desert Christians are meant to challenge us to think beyond ourselves. Sometimes a mustard seed is not a mustard seed; sometimes it may be us, or an idea we have discovered to assist others. If fertilized it will grow into something that is worthy of God.
We’ve come a long way, but we cannot forget that our innermost thoughts need nourishing. Let’s listen to them, whether we are a church-goer or an independent spiritualist.