Road tripping has always been one of our favorite things - hours and hours to talk, listen to music, read to each other, and process life. It's a recharging and bonding and ultimately romantic time. Not many others would road trip for a honeymoon!
Recently we've been reading the writings of the early church on our road trips. I love this. I have a husband with a ThM in Early Church History, so I love hearing his knowledge and passion on the subject. Most of all, though, knowing that I am reading the earliest writings after the New Testament and apostles is such a privilege. To see their faith and know that their words, while not scripture, reinforce and show continuity with scripture and with my own faith.... so amazing.
Today we started reading Ignatius. The apostle Peter was the first head of the church in Antioch, then a guy named Evodius, and then Ignatius. He was born somewhere between AD 35-50, and was discipled by the apostle John. He wrote a number of letters to churches as he travelled through Asia Minor on the way to Rome, where he was to be killed.
He speaks to them about the importance of the central belief in who Jesus is. His words and theology are eloquent. Considering the next 300 years the church are consumed with theological debate over the person of Christ, this is amazing. So poetic.
There is only one physician—of flesh yet spiritual, born yet unbegotten, God incarnate, genuine life in the midst of death, sprung from Mary as well as God, first subject to suffering then beyond it—Jesus Christ our Lord.
And this, this is amazing knowing that he is about to be led to his death (by lions, in the Colosseum), knowing that his teacher was boiled alive, and the Jesus he followed was crucified.
Do not let anything catch your eye besides him, for whom I carry around these chains—my spiritual pearls! ...I realize who I am and to whom I am writing. I am a convict; you have been freed. I am in danger; you are safe. You are the route for God's victims.
His words about the church and being a part of the body of Christ are convicting for the individualism of my generation.
I congratulate you on having such intimacy with [the Bishop] as the Church enjoys with Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ with the Father. That is how unity and harmony come to prevail everywhere. Make no mistake about it. If anyone is not inside the sanctuary, he lacks God's bread. And if the prayer of one or two has great avail, how much more that of the bishop and the total Church. He who fails to join in your worship shows his arrogance by the very fact of becoming a schismatic. It is written, moreover, "God resists the proud." Let us, then, heartily avoid resisting the bishop so that we may be subject to God.