May 2, 2018
(St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved.” Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters about this question. Acts_15:1-6
And thus arose the first Council of the Church, the Council of Jerusalem. You see, the problem with any large organization is getting everyone to agree on anything. Sometimes loggerheads in agreements can lead to total paralysis. This is why the Church has often held great meetings called Councils to make decisions about important issues. Unfortunately, if there was no organization, everyone would go about making up their own rules, beliefs and actions, and there would be absolutely no consistency in belief.
The Councils were good and needed. They were also painful, as any change is always hard on someone, as much as it is welcomed by others. And that’s why Jesus’ basic premise of love is so essential. Without the virtue of love, there would never be compromise, there would never be agreement, there would never be growth. And that is exactly what we are all doing, growing in our faith and love for one another!
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