“86 years have I served Him, he has done me no wrong; how then can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” -Polycarp at martyrdom
As I’ve been studying through the seven churches of Revelation, I’ve been drawn once again into study of the early Church. Since most of my missionary time was spent trying to “unlearn” much of church form and tradition in order to strip myself of cultural baggage, I guess I had gone on kind of a multi-year fast from one of my favorite educational passions: Church History.
One of the great inspirations of the early Church was Polycarp, pastor of the Church of Smyrna. When you read Jesus’ letter to this church in Revelation and then cross-reference Polycarp’s story, what results is a beautiful portrait of courage in the face of adversity. Here’s a link to part of Polycarp’s bio: http://www.polycarp.net/
Here are just a few of the questions I’m pondering:
- As we strive for relevance, are we as a church still modeling this kind of courage in the face of adversity?
- As a church leader, is this the kind of courage I model for those in my circle of influence?
- If Jesus were to write a letter to my church or small group, what would He say?