One of the earliest Christian documents that we have after the New Testament is a group of letters written by Ignatius, the bishop of the church in Antioch. Ignatius was arrested by the Romans and sent to Rome to be put to death for his faith sometime in the early 100s. Along the way, Ignatius wrote letters to the churches. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Ignatius wrote about the joy of the church united in worship with their bishop.
“Wherefore it is fitting that you should run together in accordance with the will of your bishop, which thing also you do. For your justly renowned [church], worthy of God, is fitted as exactly to the bishop as the strings are to the harp. Therefore in your concord and harmonious love, Jesus Christ is sung. And man by man, become a choir, that being harmonious in love, and taking up the song of God in unison, you may with one voice sing to the Father through Jesus Christ, so that He may both hear you, and perceive by your works that you are indeed the members of His Son.”
As a bishop, Ignatius had the opportunity to visit churches across his city (Antioch) and in other cities. To worship together then was encouraging for the local church to know that they were not alone, but the faith of Christ united them to others in other places that they had never met. It was a way of participating in the Gospel of Christ which has transcended every barrier which humanity has erected to divide itself. This facet of Christianity is just as powerful in our own fractured and divided day. And so our joy is likewise a powerful one.
On Sunday, November 4th we will have the opportunity to worship in a service led by our bishop, the Right Reverend Keith Andrews. Bishop Keith will preach as well as confirm the faith of those who have taken our classes in preparation. After the service the bishop will join us for our usual lunch time in order that we might get to know one another better.
Be sure to attend our worship that Sunday, to share in the love and joy of Christ.