This week we continued to consider how the early church maintained its staying power. Meeting faithfully, sound teaching, committed fellowship, regular breaking of the bread were all characteristics of the young ecclesia. Today we continued with a discussion of how vital prayer was to their endeavors.
Consider the roadside church sign: "Prayer is not an option, it's a necessity." There are several ways to interpret this aphorism, but when you get right down to it, prayer IS an option. God doesn't force us to do anything and whether or not we talk to Him is up to us. According to our understanding, however, prayer is indeed a necessity.
One of the most treasured parts of our service is our prayer time. Even in our individualized requests and corporate prayer, though, we only scratch the surface of our needs and praises. It is abundantly clear that there are so many needs among our congregation, in our city, in our state, in our world -- yes, prayer is a necessity. And joining with our brothers and sisters across the nation, we remembered the Mother Emanuel martyrs and their families. (And following their beautiful, Christ-like examples, we pray for the perpetrator's soul.)
We continued our insightful study of Mark in Sunday School. Today we delved into Mark 7 and studied how the people were teaching "as doctrines the commandments of men" and neglecting "the commandment of God, in order to maintain the tradition of men" (NEB). When our explanations and traditions get in the way of God's commands, we need to be diligent to chisel away what's getting in the way. Please read Mark 8:1-9:13 for next week.