Saturday, September 6, 2008

Primitive Simplicity

How would you feel if you got a letter from a dear friend that you knew you would never see again? You can feel their joy and see the twinkle in their eyes, just as if they were sitting right there in your living room.

When you realize that this letter was written not just to you but to a number of your friends, wouldn’t you want to invite them over to hear your friend’s passion and wisdom?

Would you take that letter and tell everyone that gathers with you, that you will now read just part of the letter and then interpret it for everyone present? How would the group react to such a course of action? I'm sure they would have quickly laughed at the sudden swelling of your head.

When Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, there would not have been an appointed interpreter; everyone had an equal share in hearing and responding to what he said. No one would have had the idea that they were reading a holy book. Nevertheless, they would have greatly valued the fact that their friend had taken the time to write to them.

Since the letter wasn’t written to any one person, no one was in charge, and yet everyone would have felt free to add his or her own unique perspective about what had been shared. They would have thought it preposterous to chop it up into chapters and verses. It would have been read as letters are intended to be, all at one time. The thought would not have occurred to them to have a Bible study.

The focus of the gathering would not have been the letter itself, but each other and their ever deepening love for Jesus.

There would have been no recriminations like: did you read the Word today? And yet, many would likely memorize the letter in the same way that a distant soldier might rehearse over and over a letter from his true love.

They might not even know that there were other letters, written to other people. No one would have thought to make a comparative study to show how the word LOGOS was used by different writers of the day.

The letter would not have been the sustaining centre of why they enjoyed being together. They had already learned how to love one another without it.

An expression used for this time period of Christianity is called the primitive church. Oh, how I long for the simplicity of that time.

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