Reflection for the week 22 October

In the years following the establishment of the early church by the apostles, there had to be a working out of patterns of worship, an establishment of leadership and decisions on how to live a Christian life in a pagan world. So there arose a number of Christian writers and theologians who grappled with much the same problems we face today. Here is an unknown writer sending a 'letter to Diognetus' who was a serious enquirer about what this 'new' faith was about – here he is explaining Paul's words in Romans 12: 2:
'Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world'.

You can't tell a Christian from a non-Christian by where he lives, or the way he speaks, there is no Christian language, and they eat, drink and sleep just like everybody else. Christians aren't particularly clever or ingenious and they haven't mastered some complicated formula, like the followers of some religions.

But while it's true that they live in cities next to other people and follow the same pattern of life as they do, in fact they have a unique citizenship of their own. They are of course citizens of their own lands - loyal ones too ... They are nationals of various states, but they are citizens of heaven.

To put it simply, the soul is to the body as Christians are to the world. The soul is spread through all parts of the body and Christians through all parts of the world. The soul is in the body but not part of the body; the Christians are in the world but not of the world.

Rosi MorganBarry (from: 'Christian Classics' edited by Veronica Zundel)