JUST IMAGINE -
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN APOSTOLIC CHURCH
The day was beginning, as it normally did, with some of the community gathered around the table to offer the church's solemn Thanksgiving to God and to feed upon the body and blood of the Savior. This morning they were at the Morrison's home, where Phil Schaeffer and Tony Rodriguez, two of the pastors of the church, presided at the small assembly. This scene was repeating itself at several other locations, and several more such assemblies would be held in the afternoon and evening, making it possible for housewives, graveyard shift workers and people on all manner of schedules to assemble for the Eucharist on that day. Tony had just finished exhorting the assembled disciples to make sure that their hearts were right toward all people before drawing near to the Lord's table; this prompted Terry to confess that she had acted harshly toward her roommate back at the community house, and would apologize to her as soon as she got back. In the time of praise and ministry that followed, Jonathan spoke out in prophesy, bringing a promise from the Lord that, having seen how faithful Anita had been in serving, interceding for and fasting for her husband, He would open his heart soon and bring Him to trust in Christ. Their communion that morning was especially joyful and expectant, as it often was after the Lord had ministered in uplifting prophecy.
After the assembly, those who could remained for breakfast and fellowship. Then, at ten o'clock, Phil was going to lead a class for inquirers, most of whom were housewives. Mrs. Morrison both gladly and bravely acted as sitter for the half-dozen or so children that came with their mothers.
Tony, however, could not stay and enjoy the fellowship, for he had to meet with two of the deacons, Bill Tanner and Carmen Lopez, at Bill's appliance repair shop. The night before, the deacons had discussed what they would be able to do to relieve the situation for the Sanchez family, a family that was new to the area, and whom Tony had met and befriended. Mr. Sanchez had been a hard working farm laborer until he hurt his back in the fields. He had no job or other job skills, his family was large, and no one but he spoke English. After meeting with him, Tony had brought their situation before the deacons, and now he was about to discover what resources they had been able to marshall on behalf of the family. "After much prayer and discussion last night," Bill said, "we came to believe that Carmen was the Lord's answer; Spanish is her native language, and she grew up in a similar environment. When we told her about them, she jumped at the opportunity to help. Since she is celibate and has no family responsibilities, she has offered to live with them for as long as they need her. She can lighten some of the work and responsibility load for Mrs. Sanchez, teach the family English, and act in general as the liaison between the congregation and their family. Furthermore, we have enough resources to keep the Sanchez family fed, clothed and housed. At the meeting we were trying to think of what kind of work Mr. Sanchez might be able to do, when someone remembered hearing John Liu mention that he needed help in his jewelry shop. We contacted John last night, and told him the whole story. He said he could train Mr. Sanchez to sort and polish his semiprecious stones." Tony took Bill and Carmen with him to the Sanchez home; when they heard the solution that these concerned Christians who did not even know them had worked out, both Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez broke out in tears, followed soon after by their three visitors. What a blessing it was to be the instruments of the Lord's policy that there are to be no poor in their midst. Perhaps the Sanchez family would come to faith in Christ, perhaps not. But how delightful it was to once again be able to incarnate His generous love. When the Lord did open the door to proclaim Christ to them, the gospel which described the love that sent Him out of heavenly glory would be all the more believable to them.
Meanwhile, back at the Morrison home, things had taken an unexpected turn at the inquirers' class: Phil and Mrs. Morrison had swapped assignments. The discussion had begun with Phil's lecture about God's inspiration of the writers of the Scriptures. He had then moved into the area of Scriptural authority in the life of the church, showing how important it was for us not merely to revere the Scriptures in general, but to obey all that is presented to us in them with childlike trust. Things had gone quite smoothly, up until the point when Tony had chosen to illustrate that point with what the apostles taught regarding the submissive and quiet demeanor God requires of Christian women. One of the inquirers, Judy Heath, in addition to being a thoroughly modern woman, was also a defense attorney, and quite accustomed to thinking for herself and speaking her mind with boldness. She offered some rather strenuous objections at this point. Phil could sense that, as a man, his testimony carried little weight with her, so the baby sitter and the elder changed places.
Harriet Morrison was an articulate and deep-thinking person, and had been walking with Christ in a Scriptural way for decades now. She proceeded to tell Judy story after story of the individuals and the relationships she knew that had been transformed because of the influence of Christian women who had finally learned to walk in the way of Sarah. By the end of the meeting, most of the women there had been convinced that the Christian discipline for woman was truly created with woman's well-being in mind, rather than man's. Two even requested baptism.
Unfortunately, Judy was not one of them; but her evident agitation gave Harriet hope. Having become deeply concerned for the many socially outcast people she defended in court, Judy had come to respect the brotherhood's various centers of ministry to the poor and homeless. "If only you could let go of the outmoded and oppressive attitudes toward women that are in that book you worship, Harriet, I'd join you in a minute. I've never seen such a combination of happiness and radicalness as I have among you folks; if only..." "If only we'd abandon the very thing that has made us the people we are?," Harriet gently completed. "We don't worship the Book, Judy; but because we have confidence that He has been able to record His revelation in Christ there, we have abandoned the freedom to pick and choose what we will accept from it. Our men have handed over their autonomy to Jesus, in a manner appropriate to them, and we women have handed it over in a manner appointed for us. You have to quit seeing only two-dimensionally, Judy: you think that you either have to have "liberated" women or degraded women who are at the mercy of men. That may be true enough out in the jungle of the world, and even in that form of Christianity that has not left the world. But we are a third way that can't be understood in such simplistic terms. Anyway, it's not really the issue of women's rights that divides you and me, my dear friend," Harriet said with convincing gentleness and friendship. "The real issue for you to face is that you can't have the Kingdom without the King. From infancy you have experienced life and formed your intuitions without Him, in that worldly jungle where the financially, physically and psychologically powerful take advantage of the weak; but, Judy, you really do have a Heavenly Father who has revealed Himself and His kingdom society, and wants you to trust Him and come out of the jungle. When you have come to trust Him and to experience the liberation of spirit that His Son has waiting for you, then you will have crossed over the real barrier that stands between you and me, Judy. I came to trust Him and then came alive in a way you have not yet experienced." Judy, the firebrand who could hold her own in any court of law, had no reply; she knew there was indeed something special in Harriet that she didn't have; but she couldn't just command herself to trust God, even if she wanted to. Her thoughts were in turmoil. "It's so confusing! Why can't I figure it all out in the rational self-controlled way that has served me so well for so long? Could this emptiness I have always felt really be a hunger for God? And what is this new "yes" that I feel coming from so deep within me, deeper than my mind? And where is this new yearning coming from for a completeness that only my Creator could give -- if I have one! And where is this terrible sadness coming from, this sad awareness that there is something hard and unclean in me that makes the satisfaction of all of those yearnings apparently impossible..." Judy Heath was indeed firmly in the hands of her Savior.
Over at the community house near the University, Tom O'Rourke -- a future elder -- was hard at work, hitting the books. Much of the church's educational ministry was carried on here at Immanuel House. It had made sense to everyone to have such a ministry near the University, and Immanuel House was just right for that purpose. It was right across the street from the beginning of the campus and contained the main library of the church. All of the elders were competent teachers of the Scriptures, but three in particular were first-class scholars who just loved to research and teach on a full-time basis. Consequently, Tim, Edward and Sidney had been authorized and set apart by the presbytery to establish this academically-oriented community at Immanuel House. They spearheaded the church's ministry to the university community, conducted an inquirer's class for the more intellectually gifted, taught and preached in the assembly, and assumed responsibility for the education of elders and potential elders. Edward was celibate, but Tim and Sidney had their families with them in community. And with them in ministry were Ruth and Maria. These two celibate sisters were recommended by their fellow deaconesses to minister at Immanuel House. They had shown good potential as teachers in their ministry to women and children in the congregation, and so they had been set apart to form part of the Immanuel House team ministry to University and church.
It was here that Tom was spending much of his time nowadays. At age 40, he had been a deacon for the past five years, but his fellow ministers and the elders concurred that God had given him gifts that would minister to the community better if he were an overseer. After much prayer and consultation with his good wife, Becky, Tom had accepted this calling as God's will for his life. He had been working for the phone company for 15 years, but was able to convince his superiors to shift him to a part-time status, so that he could devote more time to pastoral training. His house had several extra rooms, so it was decided to let Mrs. Saunders move in with them. Gladys Saunders was a widow who had been left financially secure by her husband. Her problem was loneliness, since she had no family. She had asked for an opportunity to put her money and domestic skills to work for the Lord, and when the elders came to her with this proposal she loved the idea. She would be able to subsidize Tom's household and give Becky a hand with the work of raising, cleaning and feeding the 4 of their 5 children who were still living at home. Tom was now free to spend time at Immanuel House studying the Scriptures, early Church History, Systematic Theology, Hebrew and Greek. Later on, he would be assigned to minister with several other elders and be trained in leadership, counselling, and other aspects of pastoral ministry. He was looking forward to his ordination by the presbytery, though no one presently knew when that might be. Life in the church was so close-knit that they did not need to resort to routine and formalized periods for preparing their leaders: it would become evident when Tom was prepared to begin walking in the authority and ministry of an elder. And when that happened he would be ordained by the presbytery within a few weeks' time and take his place among them. In the meantime, there was this Greek test looming large on his horizon.
By this time Tony was back from the Sanchez home, sitting in his office at Bethel. Bethel was a community household composed of celibates who had a special ministry of intercessory prayer and worship. The younger sisters worked full or part-time outside of the community, enabling it to be largely self-supporting; but the older ones maintained the house and devoted themselves to prayer and whatever doors of ministry the Lord Jesus opened to them. They received calls and visits at all hours from those seeking their ministry. Several elders, Tony among them, also had offices there. Typically, he had lunch with the sisters and then joined them in their midday prayer. Today after prayer Ann Duncan and Robert Wallace, members of the church, came to his office. Tony had already met with them once before, and would be seeing them often in the months ahead, for he was helping to prepare them for marriage. Bob was black and Ann was white, and Tony was especially delighted to help in this union. Such marriages between disciples of different races manifested so beautifully the kind of barrier-removing power of Christ that was at work in this apostolic congregation. Back when the congregation was in its infancy, the first such marriage had created a few emotionally-charged discussions; but they were resolved in the discussions and confessions of the discipleship formation groups. And gradually, as the body grew in understanding of the radical difference between the way of the kingdom of God and the natural life of man, the idea of mixed marriages became more and more natural. The more the disciples withdrew from other worldly patterns, the more obvious it became that the worldly racial patterns also must die. And now every interracial marriage reminded Tony of how far they had come. But most of his ministry to Bob and Ann had nothing to do with their race; he had to help bring their relationship to the place where it would become a spiritual one, purged of worldly elements and well established in godly disciplines. Tonight they would probably finish covering the meaning and implications of submitting to one another's sexual authority, as Paul outlined in 1 Corinthians 7. Next week, they would begin discussion and training in learning how to witness and minister as a team of Christians. With Tony's help they would explore the various ways in which they would be able to minister as a married couple; at the time of their wedding, they would not only be uniting together as one flesh but as a pair of Christian missionaries.
By the time Phil had finished discussing baptism with two of his class at the Morrison home it was mid-afternoon. Jill Van der Voorde, who was one of the two that had requested baptism, had never been involved with any Christian church, so baptism represented to her only her new-found calling to follow Christ. Sylvia, on the other hand, had been sprinkled as an infant, and had always been taught that she had been a Christian since then; for her, consequently, apostolic baptism meant also the rejection of an illusion of long-standing. Her present emotional reactions seemed rather inconsistent to her; here she was, quite prepared to make the truly costly renunciation of all worldly retaliation and violence, and consecrating her possessions for the good of others, and yet filled with anxiety about renouncing the value of an act that she had always said was rather meaningless. After several hours of discussion, with Tony sharing how he had to go through the same anxieties before he had been baptized in an apostolic manner, Sylvia was prepared to -- in her words -- "take the plunge."
After parting with Jill and Sylvia, Phil went on home. He had to meet in council with the elders that evening, so he wanted to spend some time with his family that afternoon. By the time he got home, the children had come home from school; they jumped with joy as he announced a whirlwind tour through the museum of natural history, followed by dinner at Pizza Hut. His being a community household, the cook also looked forward to five less mouths to prepare for that evening.
Tony's drive, on the other hand, took him out into the country. He had arranged with Carl Matotek, one of the deacons in charge of community property, to go out to the community farm and look at a 50-acre parcel that was adjacent to the farm and now for sale. Their farm was more than just a farm; it was a retreat center, community picnic center, vacation center for individual families, rehabilitation center for drug addicts and drop-outs, and a missionary extension of their urban church into the countryside. Not having wife and children, Tony had come to the farm quite often to minister. He had led more than a few retreats, but what he really loved to do was bring some of his hard core urban drop-outs out here for several days at a time. The hard labor and the natural life helped them to let go of some of their city cynicism and toughness, and share with Tony some of their heart's fears and guilts. More than once, Tony was able to bring the saving words of Christ's gospel down into the heart of such a person. And more than a few of the city's roving drunks and panhandlers had gotten his life straightened out here on the farm. When a man asked for a handout, the community tradition that had developed was to bring him to one of the community households, feed and clothe him and then offer him a chance to go out to the farm and work. The good effect of the farm life, combined with the personal ministry and regular times of prayer, was almost always noticeable. A number had come back into society, and some had come to know Christ and His church. The farm produced much food for the community as well. Those who were in ministry, those who were living the common life, and any who were known to be in need were supplied food free of charge; those who were maintaining their own households and budgets were free to purchase goods from the farm at significantly lower prices, for the farm was not run as a profit-making organization. Because of the growth of the congregation, the possibility of acquiring fifty more acres of productive land -- and adjacent acreage, at that -- would meet a real need. Such a purchase, however, would undoubtedly cost several hundred thousand dollars -- far more than was in the church's treasury. And they had come to take Paul's admonition, "owe no man anything," very seriously; a loan was out of the question. Consequently, there would be much prayer to God about this purchase, and they would trust Him to provide the finances once they knew if His will was for them to have the land. Tony and Carl would report back to the elders on the quality of the land, the purchase price and how the meeting with the owner went.
Supper time was an important time in the life of the community. For many, who spent their days working in the world, it was the first experience of fellowship within the body that day. The members of the community were encouraged to open up their homes for fellowship and ministry. It had been discovered long before that those who did so were also blessed with warmer and more meaningful individual family relationships than were those who kept to themselves as a family: it seemed to be an extension of Jesus' teaching to the family level -- the family that loses its life for His sake will find it. Those who were living in community of course had homes that were by nature already open for fellowship and ministry. Those who were not living in community quite naturally found dinner time to be a natural occasion for visiting and ministering to those both within and without the community. Some community households had also been authorized by the pastors to celebrate the Lord's Supper at the conclusion of the family supper. lt was the elders' authorization, not their presence, that made the Eucharist an act of the church, and consequently any one of the mature men disciples might be authorized to offer the prayer of thanksgiving over the bread and wine.
After dinner on this night, however, while most of the disciples were retiring to the living room for more fellowship, Tony, Phil and the rest of the ten elders came together at Immanuel House near the University, to attend to some issues of importance to the church. As always, they began with a time of examination and worship. They had found it very important to examine themselves and make sure that they were in the Lord's peace before coming together as decision makers of the church. The shepherds of the community have to be very attentive to the Spirit of Jesus in order to come to a common mind about any issues, and if a man were out of God's will, or if some of the elders were not at peace with each other it would be detrimental to the effort of the community of elders to think as one and enter into the mind of Christ. Sometimes an elder would have to excuse himself from the presbytery because of some inner condition of sin or strife -- especially if there were troubles in his family relationships. And there had been a few times when the business at hand had to be set aside to another day because the unity and harmony of the elders had first to be reestablished; and on those occasions the whole evening might be given over to prayer, discussion, confession and reconciliation.
Tonight, however, was not one of those nights, and after a half-hour of joyful praise of God they were ready to begin. Sidney Green, one of the more experienced elders, had been suggested as the one to coordinate the assembly tonight -- which suggestion met with everyone's approval.
First on the agenda was the report by pastors Tony and Carl concerning the property for sale down by the farm. It turned out that the owner had been so blessed by the presence and not infrequent assistance of his Christian neighbors that he wanted to sell them the property at a price well below the market value. He even suggested that he lease the property to them, and apply all of the lease money toward the purchase price, since he was not in any hurry for the money. Several of the younger elders suggested that such favorable circumstances must be a sign of the Lord's approval, and that they proceed toward the acquisition of the property. However, Ron Santini, a man in his sixties and known by all as one who was experienced in the ways of the Lord, suggested more prudence and prayer before committing themselves to any course of action. "Remember the Gibeonites," he said, "and how Israel didn't bother to seek the Lord's guidance because they had been lulled into complacency by appearances. These favorable circumstances might indeed be a sign that the Lord wants us to have the property, but they might also be a sign of a deception that He wants us to avoid by discovering His wisdom. Whether this is of the Lord or is a deception, God will make plain to us, if we are careful to seek His will first and not trust in our own understanding." Ron's exhortation to caution was so clearly from the Lord that the elders chose to delay any decision for two weeks, so that the community might fast and pray for God's guidance. Tony was instructed to communicate this to the farm's owner.
"The next thing for us to consider," pastor Sidney said, "is the issue of Don Sikorski's divorce and remarriage, which you already know about." Don, as well as his wife Rose, were new to the body. Don and his wife had divorced many years ago, and he had later accepted Christ through the ministry of a fellowship that did not walk in the apostolic doctrine regarding divorce and remarriage. Consequently, he and Rose had been led to believe that they were quite free to remarry, and did just that. When they came into the community, however, Don was told the Lord's attitude about divorce and remarriage, and that he had to seek the will of the Lord in this matter with greater care than he had been taught previously. He was encouraged to spend much time in prayer and then meet with several of the elders to tell them all about that divorce and his subsequent remarriage. They checked with others who could attest to the truthfulness of his story. And tonight they reported back to the elders assembled. One of them addressed the assembly: "We believe that Don truly acted in ignorance in all of this. It is true that he did not seek to be reconciled to his wife after he first came to Christ, and that he should have done so; it is also true that he did not consider that he might remain celibate with the help of the Lord. But it is also true that there was no Christian community around that should have informed him of these apostolic teachings. He was taught that he could marry again, if she were a sincere Christian woman, and he did just that." The presbytery began to discuss both sides of the issue; some habitually tended more toward the strictness of the Lord's discipline and others toward His willingness to overlook times of ignorance, but all were willing to be led by the Spirit of the Lord in this relationship problem that had proven time and again to be as complex as it was common. They had long ago ceased to worry about trying to absolutely certain of the truthfulness of everyone's testimony and of everyone's motivation in the matter. They knew that the Lord was the discerner and the judge of all hearts, and that any deceptions would be thoroughly dealt with by His judgment. All the presbytery could do is walk by the light that was available through the testimony and through any prophetic revelations that might come from the Lord. And in this instance they could accept the relationship between Don and his second wife. This was not as complex an issue as some they had seen in the past, for there had been no children in the first marriage, and the divorce had occurred many years before. There had been some second relationships, though, that they found they could not accept at all: like the case of Carl Mason, whose wife of long standing really wanted reconciliation, but who had "fallen madly in love" with another (younger) woman, and could not bear the thought of leaving her in order to be reconciled to his true wife. A few in such unacceptable relationships, like Carl, had rejected the decision of the church, saying that they would find a church that would accept their second relationship (no difficult feat, sad to say); and a few had been willing to separate from their unjust relationships. It was no easy thing to bear the responsibility for the lives of your community; it was far easier to be permissive, and uncritically accept what each had decided was right in his own eyes, like so many of the congregations of Christendom were doing. But they knew, as Sidney had once exhorted them, that they had to seek the approval of God rather than that of men, and that even if they did make a mistake in the exercise of their authority and responsibility, God would be able to compensate for it in the way He dealt with the person involved.
The next matter was not as complex a matter to deal with, although far less pleasant. John Williamson had, along with his wife Gail, entered into the fellowship through baptism about six months ago. He had -- like all other candidates for baptism -- promised to let the Spirit and teachings of Jesus control his life, no matter how costly it might turn out to be. The problem began about two months ago, when Fred Tyson, a deacon who had the same kind of painting business John did, went to him to exhort him to change his business policies. John had developed a reputation among the painting contractors in that area for bribing the employees of competitors to find out what price they had bid on jobs, and then underbidding them. Well he did it to one of Fred's employees, but the employee told Fred about it, and Fred then went to confront John as a fellow Christian. John got defensive about it instead of repenting, and so Fred came to one of the elders and discussed it. They spent a few days praying and fasting for John, and then went together to discuss the matter. John denied the deed, though he had not done so when confronted by Fred alone. He was also angry at the idea of having to give an account for his own business life, and at the thought of Fred talking to an elder about him "behind my back." Upon investigation, the elders had discovered that John did indeed have that reputation and that Fred's employee had indeed been approached by John. Now it was time for the whole body to become involved. When John had been presented with the evidence by the elders he became hostile; and when asked to come to their meeting tonight, he told them to "get lost." Now they had to respond, with the decision they knew they had to make. After prayer and discussion they instructed Phil Schaeffer to write a letter to John, informing him that they could no longer accept him as a brother in Christ and a member of Christ's church until such time as he might repent of his business practice and of his sin against Fred, and pleading with him to seek God's will and be restored to them. At the same time, the presbytery resolved to notify the congregation of this excommunication -- making public what they had been keeping secret until now -- and instructing the body to cease any form of fellowship with John until he repented of his sin and had been restored to their fellowship. They also resolved to intercede with God on John's behalf, that he might be led to repentance.
The final matter for consideration was a most pleasant one: to consider the invitation from their daughter congregation in Mexico City to exchange some elders and other ministries for a period of time. The congregation in Mexico City had come into being because Hector and Gladys Moreno, a couple in the community who taught at the university, had been on an exchange program with another university in Mexico City for a whole year. While down there, their life and witness had proven fruitful indeed, for about two dozen people accepted Christ and began meeting in their home for teaching and ever-deepening fellowship. When they heard of the kind of life the Evans' enjoyed back home in their church, they became hungry for it themselves. So Tom wrote back to the elders, who after prayer and discussion, saw the Lord's hand in this, and determined to send a missionary team to minister to this small band of disciples, and raise up a church in Mexico City. Two elders, a deacon, several evangelists and four families, all of whom spoke Spanish (or were learning to speak it) volunteered to move down there for as long as the Lord might choose to keep them there. That was four years ago; and the body was now three hundred strong, with a good number already beginning to show signs of a call to minister in the community. The elders had ordained three of them to be fellow pastors, and four more were ordained as teachers. In addition, several were ordained deacon, and a dozen had vowed celibacy to the Lord. The body there had thought it would be edifying if several of their new elders and others in ministry could come north and spend time in fellowship with the community here in the States. The elders discussed this, and the idea of sending some more volunteers down to Mexico City for a time. After prayer and further discussion they accepted it as being in the Lord's will, and resolved to accept the invitation of their younger sister in the Lord. This was the fifth congregation of believers to come into being through their ministry, but the first one in another country. It excited them all to see that the Lord had caused them to become parents of other bodies, who in turn would multiply themselves.
By the time they adjourned the meeting it was nearly midnight. As Tony drove home, he meditated on the events of a full day spent in the service of Christ -- and wondered if he would need his heavy coat in Mexico City!
Dear pilgrim, does not the vision that has been described in the pages above stir your heart? Simply by reading the Scriptures with the simplicity and trust of a child, by gathering the texts of the same topic together, and then meditating on them with just ordinary intelligence we have come to see in considerable detail that church which Jesus established on the earth, that same church that the early brethren described for several centuries, that same church whose components God has been restoring during the past five centuries. We have seen that church which is God's answer to all our needs: our need for experienced communion with God, our need for intimacy with other human beings and our need for a fair and just society that has the concern of a family for its members. It is that church that is the true church of Christ, the brotherhood that excites the imagination of the deepest of thinkers, the society that an honorable person would gladly sacrifice everything to be part of. It is that church that is the church which brought a fire into the ancient world, whose spread the fiercest of persecutions could not halt! We disciples of the Catholic traditions who are used to thinking that our traditions have continuity with the original churches must learn to see how destructive have been our man-made additions to apostolic theology, practice and structure, additions that have no place in Christ's church; it is what we have been describing that is the true Catholic Christianity. And we disciples from Protestant traditions must admit that the Reformation age was not the apostolic reform that we are used to thinking it was; it is what we have been describing that is a true reformation of the church -- more Catholic than we are used to in some areas and more radically reformed than we are used to in others.
Pray for God to bring the fullness of His church to pass for you, and pray that He may even do it through you; for it is the hunger of God's own heart that His people should know apostolic fellowship as part of the preparation for His Son's return. Give yourself over to this end, and let the Lord prepare you and bring you into the company of those fellow disciples who are also willing to leave all things in order to follow Christ and enjoy the rich fellowship of His body.
At this point, Judy might feel all alone, but she is actually experiencing the tremendously fruitful "sorrow of God": "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death" (2 Corinthians 7:10). <back>
Refer to Joshua 9. <back>
"His disciples remembered that it was written, 'Zeal for thy house will consume me'" (John 2:17). <back>