Monday, 26 May 2014

Bitter-sweet

Lately, I’ve been reading about the first followers of Jesus. You can learn about them in the book of Acts, towards the end of the bible.

This is a period that I often see as the honeymoon period of Christianity. I’ve formed that view from passages like this:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 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, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts, end of chapter 2)

Imagine living at that time. Wouldn't it be great? Imagine that sense of community. Imagine having such focus and devotion.

As I re-read Acts again, I've realised my error. In between the miracles I discover discontent. I now remember that the early church experienced harassment. Several of their leaders and friends were even executed for speaking about Jesus.

That must have been an incredible contrast for those Christians - to remember the great healings you've seen God perform while you’re terrified and living in fear of your life.

Perhaps that’s a more realistic view of the Christian life. We follow a king whose great act was death.  We serve a God who refuses to prioritise our comfort. We are surrounded by sorrow and hope, by failure and grace.

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