02 January 2020
Carrying Christmas in my Heart ~ Early Church Fathers
Happy Christmas and New Year Dear Reader,
If you are not a regular reader, you may not know that I rarely take a deep dive into theology in this venue. This does not mean that I do not dive deeply into it for my own benefit and education. Today the Liturgical Calendar celebrates two of the early Church Fathers, Gregory of Nazianzus and Basil of Caesarea. Feel free to use the links to read their history if you wish.
What I wish to ponder is not deep theology. Rather, I want to ponder those who help us fit understanding God into the daily lives we share. It is possible to get so steeped in the system of our beliefs that we forget that we are dealing with a living God who has two very simple requirements for us. Everything else about our faith and practice is built on these. The first is this, we are to love the Father with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. The second is that we are to love our neighbor without exception or expectation.
If you are a faithful follower of Jesus or if you are just kicking the tires to see if you want to follow him, this is your litmus test. No matter how a group of followers acts regarding theology, if they do not practice these two foundational truths, they are missing their understanding of the Father somewhere. My Grandfather used to say, “If you ever find a perfect church, do not join it. You will ruin it.” There are no perfect churches. In fact, their purpose is to help to perfect imperfect people.
Still, if you look, you can find the local congregations of people who deal in love, grace, kindness, and truth. They come in all flavors. Whether you like liturgy or not, loud or soft worship, formality or informality, there is a church that is right for you. I once attended a church that was a drive-in theatre. I have attended a church that was an amphitheater on a beach. The where and the how do not matter nearly as much as the heart of love that the Father requires.
As Christ-followers we are not supposed to be isolated. We are supposed to come together to care for each other’s needs and share the common joy of our journey home. I have only been to one church that was all that I wished. It too had its flaws. Take the time to get to know your fellow travelers, Dear Reader. Be thankful for the ones who do the deep work of deep study. Keep in mind that systematizing anything requires that the heart of it become a part of the system. The wild, reckless love of the Father has to fit in between the lines. Hopefully, that is where you will most often find me.
Wishing you joy in the journey,
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
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