Included in this week’s issue:
The long persecution of Christianity has its reasons. Jesus brings to question every power that believes it’s the center of the universe.
Let’s Back to the Early Church
We are all seeking genuineness and the glory of “the way things used to be”. We have all heard others say, and have probably said it ourselves, “Why can’t the Church today be more like the early Church of the New Testament?” A good general rule of thumb is to watch out what you wish for. For such people, the pertinent question is what church would they like to be like?
The Corinthian Church
- Paul said they were “people of the flesh” who were tainted by too many bouts of “jealousy and strife.”
- The Corinthians had a man in their midst who was sleeping with his father’s wife, apparently his step-mother.
The Galatian Church
Paul had to write these “foolish Galatians” because they were so easily and severely led astray that Paul worried he might have “labored over you in vain” among them.
The Colossian Church
Like the Galatians, they were listening to false teachers, but in addition had to put a host of ungodly behaviors in their church behind them and out of their fellowship: sexual immorality, impurity, evil desire, covetousness, anger, wrath, malice and obscene talk.
The Church at Thessalonica
Paul had needed to write to the Thessalonian believers because of busy-bodies gossiping and spreading dissension. Paul told them to get busy living quiet lives, minding their own business and get on the work they should have been doing all along.
And then there are the Churches mentioned in the book of Revelation:
- Ephesian church:They abandoned the love they first had and Christ calls them to repent of this.
- Pergamum church:Some among them adhered to ungodly teaching and were leading many astray.
- Thyatira church:There they had Jezebel who was leading many into the practice of sexual immorality through her teaching and seduction.
- Sardis church:They had a reputation for being alive, but were dead. Only a few among them had not “soiled their garments.”
- Laodicea church:They were famously neither hot nor cold, but just merely lukewarm. God says they were “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.”
The Wedding Ring
In ancient cultures, people used rings of precious metals to symbolize their commit to another in particular major and enduring business contracts. During the second and third centuries, Christians started exchanging such bands as the promise of marriage with the symbols of their Christian faith on them. The gold and silver represented both purity of their relationship and the preciousness of their promises.
Another custom was added in the Middle Ages. The priest officiating the wedding would declare to the couple and their wedding party “I unite you in wedlock in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.” As he spoke this each spouse would take the ring and place it first on the thumb of their spouse at the mention of the Father. Next the pointer at the mention of the Son and the index as the Holy Spirit is proclaimed. And with the Amen, it was placed on what has become known as the ring finger.
Marriage is a Trinitarian union.