Sunday, March 11, 2012


From “Epistle to Diognetus,” an ancient writing that some call the first apologetic. What follows is an excerpt which, in its context, distinguishes Christian from Jew in a letter to a gentile inquirer. Provocative! I am captivated. Convicted. Challenged. Even comforted. Oh, that we might exhibit this quality of Christ following:

“For the Christians are distinguished from other [persons] neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive [persons]; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines.

“But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers.

“They marry, as do all (others); they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives.

“They love all [persons], and are persecuted by all…. [Y]et those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.

“To sum up all in one word--what the soul is in the body, that is what Christians are in the world. The soul is dispersed through all the members of the body, and Christians are scattered through all the cities of the world. The soul dwells in the body, yet is not of the body; and Christians dwell in the world, yet are not of the world.”

And in the same vein, but written by a person of our times in words which capture a piece what we desire Spa for the Soul to be:

“The shalom bringers spread a sense of warmth, comfort, hope, and well-being even before a word is spoken. They themselves are the interlinking, not just their words and actions. They do not talk about religion all the time. They are not constantly telling us to cheer up and look on the bright side. They may not say anything special at all, but when we are with them we feel understood, accepted, welcomed.

“When we think of these men and women in our lives, we feel as if God is reaching out to us through them…. We call them the children of God.”
From Forgiveness, the Passionate Journey by Flora Slosson Wuellner