First, Love-Week 1 // Back to the Beginning // Pastor Kate Murphy

Scripture:  1 John 2:7-17

In the year 125 AD, a Greek philosopher named Aristedes attempted to explain the popularity of Christianity to the Roman Emperor Caesar Hadrian’s. Here’s how he described these early Christians:

“They love one another. They never fail to help widows. They save orphans from those who would hurt them. If they have something, they give freely to one who has nothing. If they see an immigrant, they take him into their homes and rejoice over him as a brother…and if there is among them any that is poor and needy, and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food.”

Who would describe Christians that way today?

This Sunday, we begin a new worship series based on the letters of John, the last living apostle to the early church. He was the one Jesus called ‘beloved,’ and he wrote to believers in the time before the faith was a religion, before it was institutionalized, before it was domesticated, when it was still a way of living. When it was still a way of love.

These letters were written before we replaced Jesus’ invitation to ‘follow me’, with the authoritative command to worship Jesus, before we replaced ‘pick up your cross and follow’, with ‘believe these doctrines or be damned.’ John wrote in a time when the church understood that Jesus did not leave us with a call to belief or worship, but with one command: ‘love one another as I have loved you.’  Keeping that command was the way the early church lived with Christ.

In those early days, keeping the faith was figuring out what does it look like to love my brother and sister the way that Christ has loved me?

You can see in Aristedes’ words that people answered that question in some astonishingly beautiful ways.  Now most Christians talk about Jesus as the only way to get to heaven after you die.  Then Christians talked about Jesus as the only way to live on earth as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.

At first, Christianity was a way of living with love.  Let’s go back to the beginning. 


Pastor Kate

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