Monday, July 5, 2010

Our manner of life...

As I've mentioned many times, I'm reading Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne. I came upon an excerpt from Aristides the Athenian. He was a Christian in Greece around AD 137. He wrote:

"It is the Christians, O Emperor, who have sought and found the truth, for they acknowledge God. They do not keep for themselves the goods entrusted to them. They do not covet what belongs to others. They show love to their neighbors. They do not do to another what they would not wish to have done to themselves. They speak gently to those who oppress them, and in this way they make them their friends. It has become their passion to do good to their enemies. They live in the awareness of their smallness. Every one of them who has anything gives ungrudgingly to the one who has nothing. If they see a traveling stranger, they bring him under their roof. They rejoice over him as over a real brother, for they do not call one another brothers after the flesh, but they know they are brothers in the Spirit and in God. If they hear that one of them is imprisoned or oppressed for the sake of Christ, they take care of all his needs. If possible they set him free. If anyone among them is poor or comes into want while they themselves have nothing to spare, they fast two or three days for him. In this way they can supply any poor man with the food he needs. This, O Emperor, is the rule of life of the Christians, and this is their manner of life.
- Aristides, AD 137

If that doesn't knock the wind out of your sails, I don't know what will. If I made this into a check list and went item by item for my own life, I might check off one or two of the multitude of attitudes and behaviors listed here. What has happened to the Church? What has happened to Christians? We have become less and less imitators of Christ. I want to get back to the way the Church was when it first started. I want to open my house to complete strangers and love them as a brother. I want to give until it hurts. I want to be aware of my smallness. I want to be an imitator of Christ.

What am I waiting for?

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