Have you ever wondered how a band of 12 men and assorted followers exploded into a group so extensive and powerful that Christianity became a state religion within 300 years? Stepping aside from the argument of whether that was a good thing, I did get curious about what those folks were doing. Despite (or because of?) the risk of getting fed to lions, Christianity was catching on faster than the latest iPhone or other techno gadget. Unity Community is a vibrant, welcoming community with a positive message. We’re engaged in embodying love and awakening spiritual consciousness—two things the world could use more of. I’d like to see us catch on!
That question was the genesis of our series: “Be the Light; See the Light: 7 Actions to Illuminate the World”. I started ruminating on what I know or imagine about the early church’s activities and that led me to identify the 7 actions they were surely engaged in, actions which, if we emulate them, will help our light shine brighter.
The first was to be kind. It’s always good to be kind, but this makes more sense in the context of what was happening at that time. Jesus was a Jew. He belonged to a religious group that was not interested in spreading their message to Gentiles. Jesus made waves more than once by his kindness and attention to those who were not Jewish. His followers did the same. Agape is the Greek word that means selfless love—or kindness—and that’s what early Christians were known for.
Something else they were doing was forgiving sins. Now that’s a word with a lot of religious baggage attached to it, but it comes from an old English archery term that means missing the mark. The early church was a place where you could come in from the cold, so to speak, when your life just wasn’t working and you felt lost. They were welcoming rather than judging. They could forgive in the name of Jesus (i.e. in the nature of Jesus) because they understood, just as Jesus had, that God is one. In God there is no separation. Good and Evil are human constructs, not Divine. Each one of us is always the apple of God’s eye (if God had an eye!). Forgiveness is a technology for remembering the love that we are.
Early Christians lived in a state of gratitude, giving thanks and praise. This is an attitude that not only feels good, but is also contagious and magnetic. Imagine being in an energy field where everyone is filled with appreciation rather than complaints. It is a high vibration field!
They were teaching what they had learned from Jesus. What had they learned? They learned to love one another and tap into the Source to find true power. That was the core message. Jesus taught that our power comes from the field, Source, Abba, God—not from the circumstances and people of the material world. This power isn’t diminished by physical death. That was a powerful message. They weren’t just mouthing the words. They were living examples of faith in that truth. No matter how challenging circumstances grew, they were plugged into Source and giving thanks!
On any given day, we’d find those Christians praying. But the trick here is to understand what it meant to pray. They weren’t begging. Rather, they were aligning. If God is one—one power, one presence, one field, one love—then prayer is about getting our consciousness back into that oneness—turning away from the separation that ideas of lack represent. When we pray in this fashion, healing happens. That was something else that was happening. People were being healed. The word heal means whole. They were having experiences that let them know they were wholly (not holy) in God.
Finally, they were blessing everyone. What does it mean to bless? To insist that there is nowhere that the Divine light is not. To call it forth from hiding by our affirmations of well-being for all, regardless of whether (in our minds) they deserve these blessings.
We don’t have to think of ourselves as Christians to adopt the working formula they used. During this season when lights are sparkling everywhere we turn, we are challenged to follow their example and embody the light. That is how we will lighten and enlighten our world. This result is not random. It’s in our hands!