Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper 17: Year 2
“Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they associated with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians’.” (Acts 11: 25 and 26)
Like everybody else in the world, Christians did not name themselves thus; they were called Christians by non-Christians, and it stuck.
So who are we really? We Christians are still disciples. We are students. We are learners. Barnabas was a good man full of the Holy Spirit and he rejoiced when he saw how people had been changed for the better. Ironically, this was a time of the persecution of Christians and was right after the time of the stoning of Stephen. Christians were afraid for their lives. The Church was scattered, and for the most part, a secret society. It seems that it is under such conditions that the Church thrives. Christians grow their faith, first and foremost, in their homes with prayer and supplication, and with study and service. We are not so much recruiters as we are seekers of greater love and understanding and compassion and empathy. We strive to learn the Way of Jesus Christ. This is who we really are.
While many joined the Christian movement in Antioch it was something they sought after, not something they were corralled into. It is when we individually stop and ponder about the meaning of life that we evolve in good ways. Blaise Pascal said, “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” Sitting quietly in a room alone can be scary. Our Lord Jesus might actually speak to us! Before one can really be prepared to be called a Christian, a student or disciple; he or she must first be prepared in their hearts. For where your heart is, there will your treasure be also. I invite you to start this practice. Find some time to sit quietly alone and ponder.
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