Sunday, March 6, 2011

What We Don't Have

From: In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson

Our modern church has some distinct advantages over the early Church. We have better youth programs and better acoustics and finer buildings. We have better literature that is more available to our flocks, most of whom happen to be literate. We have some pretty fair preachers, or at least we have some who are more fun to listen to than the blessed Saint Augustine.

We have better choirs, I suspect, and we can put on a Sunday morning service with more art and more dignity and more beauty than ever before. We have mailing lists and newsletters and Web sites. We have educational buildings and discipleship classes and Bible study groups where students bring their own Bibles. We have Sunday school buses and youth lock-ins and Christian rock-and-roll bands.

What we do not have so much of sometimes, it seems to me, is the depth of spirit and of devotion and of piety that marked the life of the faithful in the hundreds and thousands of years before us, the centuries that produced the Church we built our buildings and programs around in the first place.

It is worth noting, I believe, that this tradition of prayer is one of the practices our modern Church does not do that the ancient Church did. We preach sermons, study the Scriptures, gather to worship on the Sabbath, teach our children the faith, and fellowship with one another - but we do not say our prayers.

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