Monday, March 26, 2018

MARCH 18, 62 A.D.

It is the morning of the day of the Sun.  A work day.  I’m up at 3:30 a.m. to go to the underground burial place where the stench takes your breath away and vomiting is a weekly expectation.  It is the only safe place where we can meet without fear of being discovered.   We walk into the area in small groups of one to three.   We leave our work clothes hidden a safe distance away to change into once our assembly is over.  We can’t afford to carry the smell of death with us to work.  Questions would be asked.  Investigations would be made.  Live’s would be endangered.

When we arrive, we greet one another with a kiss of holiness.  We encourage one another in the blessed name of Jesus.  Those who aren’t slaves bring loaves and wine for the Lord’s memorial.  We share.  Each is asked to quote a scripture from the first covenant, or from an apostle’s writings which they have committed to memory.  If a prophet is present, he gives us his Spirit inspired teaching.   We discuss his instruction and comment on each passage that has been quoted.  Prayer is offered.  If someone has a need, those who have, give to that need.  We are encouraged by God’s word and our fellowship.  We sing one or two of the Psalms, but quietly.  Our voices might carry on the morning dew where they would not be appreciated, and we would be arrested for following the Nazarene.  Each person talks about his activities since the last gathering.  Those with harsh masters are encouraged to follow the instruction of the apostles.  We pray with them as we lay hands upon one another.  Prayer is also made for the sick and those who have been arrested for their faith.  Funds are also given by those who can donate to help the families whose breadwinner has been imprisoned for his faith.  The time together seems so short and the moment arrives to dismiss.  To keep down suspicion, we go to different parts of the river in small groups to wash away the stench of decomposing bodies.  We retrieve our hidden work garments and hide those we have worn to our assembly.  We will pick them up at the end of the day and wash them.

At 5 a.m. I am at work getting things ready for my master and family when they wake up.  This Lord’s day has started off in a great way!  I’m not throwing up as much as I did when I attended my first assembly.  Our fellowship together makes the smell of the catacombs secondary.  Our fellowship is exhilarating!  I wonder what the assemblies will be like one thousand, nine hundred and fifty-six years from now?

NOW

Almost every Sunday, it is the same old same old.  Getting everyone out of bed, get them dressed, get them to comb their hair, finish eating, brush their teeth, everyone in the car, and drive that fifteen minutes to the church building is murder!  At least no one forgot their Bible nor got an unmatched shoe on today.  The struggle with the kids isn’t as bad today as it was last week!  I just hope we can find a good parking spot, so we don’t need to walk from the backside of the church lot!   You would think we would not be the only ones who attend the worship service and miss Sunday School!  At least we will be early enough that no one will sweetly persecute us with that, “You’re late again!”  Oh, no!  I’m going to have to tell those visitors that they are sitting in “our seats.”  They will just have to move.  We’ve sat on that pew since before our children were born.  Well, you would have thought we asked them to move off a gold mine.  I wish that elder didn’t get up every Sunday to start things off by telling how friendly we are!  Everyone knows that!   Despite those visitors being reluctant to move, I was very cordial in asking them to do so!

Well, the preacher almost had a good sermon today.  I wish he would preach the Bible.  He only quoted eight verses.  I can remember when preachers would quote one hundred or more.  Of course, they spoke for over an hour and the Baptists always arrived at our favorite restaurant fifteen minutes ahead of us.  If he is only going to quote eight verses, it looks like he would not keep repeating himself when giving the invitation!  Neither Paul, Silas, Barnabas, nor Timothy gave a long invitation!  Everyone present already knows, “Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit, and be Faithful.”  After all, someone in the Bible gave that invitation, but just once, not on and on and on.  If we’re going to claim to preach the Bible, we ought to do so rather than repeat stuff.

I’ll bet those visitors that we asked politely to move out of our seats were really impressed with the scriptural way we do things.  I’m sure they will want to place membership with us since we are a very friendly congregation.  I wonder if the church, in the first century had as tough of a time worshiping God in spirit and in truth as we do?  The sacrifices we make and the hoops we must jump through to be biblically right is astronomical!