A tentative assessment of the work of the Jesus followers during the first pandemic depicts relatively small communities who stayed loyal to their healing mission, even though they were somewhat invisible to the overview of the pandemic situation.
We’ve prayed before. We’ve cried before. We’ve blamed others before. Have we run out of options? That’s the question that brings me back to the only ancient Christian text I’m aware of that deals so directly with violence.
This is an uncommon set of instructions in the face of grave danger, to say the least! It neither promises a miraculous escape, nor does it call for violence in return.
Heaven was not found in another place or time, but right in the midst the world she inhabited. The world’s fire was blazing, but in her other dimension of thought, Thecla was holding tight to God.
The first time I read the relatively unknown text called the Letter of Peter to Philip from the Nag Hammadi collection, I was stunned with its overall message of guidance in the face of violence.
‘Safety’—as it was understood among the early Jesus followers—was neither escape from sin and punishment, nor technological advances… It was a better understanding of our relationship to the divine power.