If you find being a follower of Christ in today’s world hard – you are in good company. Way back when, Jesus began what has been described as, a…
revitalization movement that arose in response to the misery, chaos, fear, and brutality of life in the urban Greco-Roman world… Christianity revitalized life in Greco-Roman cities by providing new norms and new kinds of social relationships able to cope with many urgent problems. To cities filled with the homeless and impoverished, Christianity offered charity as well as hope. To cities filled with newcomers and strangers, Christianity offered an immediate basis for attachment. To cities filled with orphans and widows, Christianity provided a new and expanded sense of family. To cities torn by violent ethnic strife, Christianity offered a new basis for social solidarity. And to cities faced with epidemics, fire, and earthquakes, Christianity offered effective nursing services… For what they brought was not simply an urban movement, but a new culture capable of making life in Greco-Roman cities more tolerable.”
This description of the ancient world by Rodney Stark in his book The Rise of Christianity sounds a little too familiar. History may very well repeat itself, but in every generation since Jesus walked the earth the “body knit together as such by a common religious profession, by unity of discipline, and by the bond of a common hope…” has been present because you are present.
I doubt it has ever not been painful to watch as a “new culture” emerges, but each generation of Christ’s followers take hope that each run-of-the-mill, daily life will make a world of difference.
Being formed in the likeness of Christ (Christian Formation) brings about transformation – both personally and throughout the world. We participate more fully in that process as we do whatever we can to use whatever means available, whenever an opportunity arises, to encourage faith, hope, love and charity in our homes, community, and the world.