Nero did not throw Christians to the lions because they confessed that ‘Jesus is Lord of my heart.’ It was rather because they confessed that ‘Jesus is Lord of all,’ meaning that Jesus was Lord even over the realm Caesar claimed as his domain of absolute authority.
This Spoken Word video by Odd Thomas is a great meditation for Christmas Eve. At the end is a portion of a sermon from the early church father, Augustine. I’ve included it here as well:
Man’s maker was made man,
that He, Ruler of the stars,
might nurse at His mother’s breast;
that the Bread might hunger,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be tired on its journey;
that Truth might be accused of false witnesses,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Foundation be suspended on wood;
that Strength might grow weak;
that the Healer might be wounded;
that Life might die. -Augustine
Neither revolution nor reformation can ultimately change a society, rather you must tell a new powerful tale, one so persuasive that it sweeps away the old myths and becomes the preferred story, one so inclusive that it gathers all the bits of our past and our present into a coherent whole, one that even shines some light into the future so that we can take the next step… If you want to change a society, then you have to tell an alternative story.
Each generation has to wrestle afresh with the question of Jesus… we should discover more and more of who Jesus was and is, precisely in order to be equipped to engage with the world that he came to save. And this is a task for the whole church.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
he was buried,
he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
and he appeared to Peter, then to the twelve.
Intelligent silence is
the mother of prayer,
freedom from bondage,
custodian of zeal,
a guard on our thoughts...
a companion of stillness,
the opponent of dogmatism,
a growth of knowledge,
a hand to shape contemplation,
the secret journey upward.
Spirituality is not a formula; it is not a test.
It is a relationship.
Spirituality is not about competency;
it is about intimacy.
Spirituality is not about perfection;
it is about connection.
The way of spirituality begins where we are now
in the mess of our lives.