In the early days of the church, Christians were already famous for taking good care of people. In about the year 197, the North African scholar Tertullian wrote that his pagan neighbors were astonished: See how these Christians love one another! And not only one another, wrote other early Christians: they take good care of anyone who needs it. One modern scholar of the early Christian era reports that towns with a solid Christian presence had a much better survival rate during the plagues that regularly broke out because the Christians took good care of people when they needed it.
It’s what we do. It’s what we’ve always done. It’s how we act on what Jesus taught us. The way we take good care of people when they need it — whether it’s organizing a casserole and carpool brigade for a family with a new baby or raising money for solar power for hospitals in Liberia — that’s the church at its best.
This message is excerpted from “It’s what we do” by Audrey Novak Riley from the August 30, 2019, blog of the Women of the ELCA.
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