Thursday, June 7, 2012

To Attain Unto God

For the summer, I am taking a couple classes on  Church history. Studying history, for some, may seem more like cruel punishment than an enjoyable opportunity; a buffet of boredom rather than an exciting adventure. However, it has been such a joy to be able to dive into the story of Christianity and to study the faith of those who have come before us. It has been like opening up a small door into a vast storehouse, stretching beyond where the eye can see and mind can comprehend. And in this storehouse are the riches of God's faithfulness, seen in the generations of Christians whom He has faithfully worked in. His glory is seen through these countless testimonies of His grace.

Over the next couple days, I will post a few accounts of early Church father's that really encouraged me. The first is from Ignatius, the Bishop of Antioch. Around the year 107, Ignatius was condemned to death by the imperial authorities. He was ceased in Antioch, then was brought from Antioch to Rome, so that his death might be a spectacle to many. It was on this journey that Ignatius wrote seven letters. It was also during this time that Ignatius was somehow made aware that Christians in Rome were planning to free him from the imperial authorities, thus freeing him from death. Contrary to how most of us would react, Ignatius was not in favor of this idea. He was ready to die as a witness to the gospel. His main concern was Christ, not himself. In one of his letters he wrote.
"I fear your kindness, which may harm me. You may be able to 
achieve what you plan. But if you pay no heed to my request it will
be very difficult for me to attain unto that I may not only be called a Christian, 
but also behave as such....My love is crucified...I no longer savor corruptible
food....but wish to taste the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ...
and his blood I wish to drink, which is an immortal drink....
When I suffer, I shall be free in Jesus Christ, and with him shall rise again in freedom....
I am God's wheat, to be ground by the teeth of beasts, so that I may be offered as pure bread of Christ."

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