Pondering for Saturday, November 23, 2019

Readings for Clement Bishop of Rome November 23 c. 100

Psalm 78:3-7 1 Chronicles 23:28-32  2 Timothy 2:1-7  Luke 6:37-45

“He also told them a parable: ‘Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher.”  (Luke 6: 39 – 40)

Today we remember Clement Bishop of Rome.  According to early traditions, Clement was a disciple of the Apostles and the third Bishop of Rome. He is generally regarded as the author of a letter written about the year 96 from the Church in Rome to the Church in Corinth, and known as “First Clement” in the collection of early documents called “The Apostolic Fathers.”  (Great Cloud of Witnesses for November 23)

I notice that the word “disciple” is used.  This means he was direct student of those who followed our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I look at the date of his letter, 96 AD.  This date is comparable to the times the Gospels were being put down in the Greek language.  Clement was the Bishop of a church still in hiding.  Yet he was insistent about the order and structure of the Church.

The letter Clement wrote was a testament to the order of the Church. “The occasion of the letter was the action of a younger group at Corinth, who had deposed the elder clergy because of dissatisfaction with their ministrations. The unity of the Church was being jeopardized by a dispute over its ministry. Clement’s letter sets forth a hierarchical view of Church authority. It insists that God requires due order in all things, that the deposed clergy must be reinstated, and that the legitimate superiors must be obeyed.”   (Great Cloud of Witnesses for November 23)

Anarchy is the term used to describe lawlessness. There must be order in all things.  And ways to call to action for adjustment when the order seems to be out of order with the Will of God. Clement writes: “The apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus the Christ was sent from God. Thus Christ is from God and the apostles from Christ. In both instances, the orderly procedure depends on God’s will. So thereafter, when the apostles had been given their instructions, and all their doubts had been set at rest by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, they went forth in the confidence of the Holy Spirit to preach the Good News of the coming of God’s kingdom.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for November 23)  

I am proud to be a part of this apostolic succession that has been handed down for over 2000 years.  And while we don’t want to do anything rash like those did in Corinth, we do want to make sure our Bishops are consecrated by the will of God as I believe they are.  Thank You Jesus.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John+

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