The term “diaspora” is both a historic and religious term used to describe “a large group of people with a similar heritage or homeland who have since moved out to places all over the world.” (source: vocabulary.com) The Old Testament diaspora describes the exilic period when the Jewish people were deported and scattered from Judea to Assyria, Persia and Babylon over several generations.
A similar diaspora of the followers of Jesus took place after Pentecost, as the Christian movement went from Jerusalem into Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). The word has subsequently been used to describe the scattering and migration of refugee populations across the globe. As these phenomena occur, language and culture are also dispersed with the people.
We discussed the topic of “perseverance” in a weekly Zoom Bible study yesterday, and it’s a topic I keep thinking about. Specifically, I’m pondering the extent to which perseverance is a human effort or a spiritual gift. What do you think?
While I do not find the word listed in any of the typical spiritual gift passages (I Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4), Paul does write about perseverance in Romans 5. There perseverance seems to have a quality of a spiritual fruit, if not gift. Paul writes, “we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope.” v.4
We are having a beautiful Spring in south-central Indiana. Vibrant green grass, trees in full bloom, flowers replacing one another in a sequence of staging: crocus to daffodils to tulips. Add brilliant sunshine and warming temperatures and it has been a prescription for lawn work, walks, bike rides, and sitting on the patio or porch.
Yet as creation shows off its multicolored palate, there is the reality of an invisible virus stalking humankind. In it’s wake the coronavirus is leaving behind dis-ease and death. I continue to marvel at this juxtaposition of the two – Spring and COVID-19.
If you were to come up with a top ten list of things for which you are grateful, what would be on your list? The Thanksgiving season is a great time to give some thought to this list. But do me a favor. Don’t just write out, or mentally check off, the expected list. Put some thought and creativity into the list. Go beyond the one word or simple phrase list to expound in a few more words what you are thankful for in 2019.
All Saints Day (November 1st) is a celebration of all Christian saints, particularly those who have no special feast days of their own, in many Roman Catholic, Anglican and Protestant churches. Here at First Baptist – Columbus we celebrate All Saints Sunday on the Sunday closest to All Saints Day (November 4th this year).
Our celebration is a remembrance of those who have died over the prior twelve months – both church and family members – to join that great cloud of witnesses described in Hebrews 12:1.
The Apostle Paul used the word “saint” to refer to anyone who is in Christ. This usage removes the expectation of one having done miraculous acts in order to be canonized as a saint, as is the case in some religious traditions. In Paul’s understanding, we are all saints when we come to follow Jesus.
On All Saints Sunday we have the opportunity to give thanks for those saints in Christ who have gone before us. It’s a reminder that death is not the end of life, but the continuation of life eternal because of the redemption we know through Christ.
For All The Saints (Hymn Lyrics)
For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed;
thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
You are invited to join us for worship, in person, or via Live Stream, this Sunday at First Baptist Church, 3300 Fairlawn Drive, Columbus, IN at 9:30 a.m. (EST).