Early Christian historian Justin Martyr, born in 100 A.D., wrote this description of the early community of Jesus-followers: “We who used to value the acquisition of wealth and possessions more than anything else now bring what we have into a common fund and share it with anyone who needs it.  We used to hate and destroy one another and refused to associate with people of another race or country.  Now, because of Christ, we live together with such people and pray for our enemies.”  Wow!  Is it really any wonder the early Church grew in spite of horrific persecution?  What is described here is the kind of community we were created to live within, and the kind of radical alternative community I have been describing in this sermon series, where this call for laying down our lives for one another is literally taken to heart.


Last week we took a look at the stories of the perfect community back in the Garden before the fall into sin replaced loving and serving God and others with loving and serving self above all.  When we picture the complete restoration of creation with the coming of new heavens and a new earth at the end of time, we anticipate an eternal, perfect community.  And as we look at the time between— between the perfect beginning and perfect ending—we see glimpses of restored community… first in the gathering of the rescued descendants of Abraham at Sinai into a covenant community guided by the restorative rule of the commandments, and then later in the community recognized by its radical love in the early Church.  


Please understand this: every time we pray “Thy kingdom come and Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” we are praying for the restoration of true community-- God’s kind of community— here and now.  On this “Good Shepherd Sunday” I believe it is important to note that this is the fold into which our Shepherd calls and leads us, the kingdom He came to establish.


With You in Him,






   April 2019   
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