How should faith and reason work together?
Imagine you were part of the very first church congregation ...
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever wondered whether the Church has always been the same? Have church-goers always worshipped like we do now, always thought as we do now, always acted as we do now? Have you ever wondered if Church today is the very best it can be? Perhaps this has never occurred to you, perhaps you are content with how things are now. If so then our journey may offer some big surprises. Otherwise you will still get some big surprises, but you will also have many questions answered, questions that you may not even have thought of yet!
It may help by considering what things were like for the very first church, the one in Jerusalem a few years after Jesus had died, a church attended by his first disciples.
“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 favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. “ (Acts 2:42-47)
Yes, these were different times, but God never changes in the way He deals with us, so there’s no reason why we should change in the way we deal with Him. Can you imagine what a voice we could have if every church experiences awe-inspiring signs and wonders, where all possessions and needs are shared and how new believers are added on a daily basis?
The fact that this is not the norm today speaks of changing times, a lot has happened in the nearly two thousand years that separate us and them. And what has happened? Actually quite a lot, but chiefly in the way we think and how we convert those thoughts into actions.
Here’s the deal. To fully understand what informed and motivated those first Christians we would have to be Jews living in Roman occupation in the First Century AD. The next best thing would be to turn back the clock before history chipped away at this perfect picture and see exactly what went wrong.
It’s a big story and it is rarely told. But we will make this journey and will tell this story. And what a fascinating story it is because it is a story that we can learn from and help ourselves and others become part of a Church that God originally intended.
Next week we will start at the very beginning of the Church, its actual birth at the time of Pentecost.
A Lib Dem candidate who was due to stand in the upcoming election...