Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Apprehend His silence

Igantius of AntiochIn our Education for Ministry course this past Sunday, the third year group was reading about some early Christian writings beyond the scope of the Bible which are sometimes referred to as the Apostolic Fathers. One important group of these writings is the seven letters the Bishop Ignatius of Antioch wrote to churches as he was en route from Antioch to Rome for his own martyrdom in the Colosseum. They give us a glimpse into the early Christian church which fits what we find in the New Testament, and while not scripture, they are inspirational.

Here is a section from Igantius' letter to the Ephesians, which he handed to a group of Ephesian Christians headed by their Bishop Onesimus who came to visit Igantius as he was traveling to his death. One more connection to scripture is that Bishop Onesimus is believed to be the freed slave of the same name who was the subject of Paul's letter to Philemon. While this connection is not conclusive, it is likely. Here then is some of what Igantius wrote to the Christians at Ephesus:
As the tree is known by its fruits, so they who claim to belong to Christ are known by their actions; for this work of ours does not consist in just making professions, but in a faith that is both practical and lasting. Indeed, it is better to keep quiet and be, than to make fluent professions and not be. No doubt it is a fine thing to instruct others, but only if the speaker practises what he preaches. One such Teacher there is: He who spake the word, and it was done; and what He achieved even by His silences was well worthy of the Father.

A man who has truly mastered the utterances of Jesus will also be able to apprehend His silence and thus reach full maturity, so that his own words have the force of actions and his silence the significance of speech.

Nothing is hidden from the Lord; even our most secret thoughts are ever present to Him. Whatever we do, then, let it be done as though He himself were dwelling within us, we being as it were His temples and He within us as their God. For in fact, that is literally the case; and in proportion as we rightly love Him, so it will be clear to our eyes.
Here is the full text of his letter to the Ephesians, though in a more dated translation than the one I have in a book.


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